How often have you given your power away? How many times have you believed that a therapist, a doctor, a priest, a guru, a teacher, a healer, or even a lover could save you? That they could somehow do for you what you couldn’t do for yourself? That they somehow had the power to fix what was broken? But you didn’t.
I’ve done it. Many times. According to Albert Einstein, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So when is enough enough?
I was raised in darkness. Fear was my constant. Abused and sold. Over and over. Programs ingrained into my brain to assure that I knew I was property of others. Don’t think. Do as told. The nightmarish memories were tucked away, hidden just under the surface of my conscious mind. Popping out at the most irreverent times. Fear of strangers. Fear of darkness. Fear of churches. Fear of words. Fear of sleep. Fear of food. A constant state of fear.
I was never unaware of what my life had held. My life story was not a repressed existence. I knew I had been abused. I knew I had been sold. I knew I had experienced ritualized torture. However, most of the specifics were locked away. Safely stored in a way that somehow allowed me to move forward. This was a gift.
Searching for a savior
In my early 20’s I knew I needed help. I didn’t sleep. I struggled with food. I struggled with relationships. I was in a constant state of fight or flight. Depression and anxiety clung to me like a soaking garment. Flashbacks would overwhelm and send me into a curled up fetal position. I couldn’t trust anyone. Yet I would blindly and spastically grab at anyone around me. Wanting to be saved. I sought help through traditional therapy. I, like many, thought that if I could just find the right person they could fix me. They could save me.
I don’t know how many therapists I saw over the years. It became a routine. I would never share the full story. I couldn’t. I would say I was depressed and anxious. I would occasionally admit to “some abuse.” Then the programming around “not talking” would kick in. My anxiety would begin to rise. And I would quit. Over and over.
And then “G” came into the picture.
I saw G for the longest period of time, over 5 years. I began to tell G pieces of the full story. And G did something that no therapist had ever done before. G tried to engage in a personal relationship with me. I liked this. I liked someone wanting to know me and to be my friend. It felt almost safe. However, it didn’t take long for things to go awry.
G would go back and forth between having rigorous boundaries and having no boundaries at all. The “almost safe” feeling would come crashing to the ground with every rise and fall of G’s boundaries. I felt like a stray kitten that found a home with milk outside. Yet, frequently, the milk would be removed. Like a kitten starving for milk that she knew was there but now was gone, I would desperately try to figure out what I needed to do to get into good graces again. I would buy G’s groceries. I would babysit for G. The more I did for G, the quicker I got back into the place I desired to be.
Giving away my power
What I didn’t realize was that I was in a relationship that was simply repeating the patterns of programming and abuse that had been my constant for so many years.
My boundaries were being determined by someone else. G held my power. I had given it away. I had fallen prey to believing that someone else could save me. That they had some power that I didn’t.
Things continued to worsen. Fear was my constant companion again. I remained dissociated large parts of each day. I was worse than I had been in years. I didn’t want to live. Yet, there was some force inside of me that kept saying “you can do this.”
I parted ways with G shortly after. I began to regain some strength with G out of the picture. I became determined that I would not allow anyone to hurt me in this way again. I was not going to spend thousands of dollars to replicate my abuse anymore.
Or so I thought.
The last therapist I handed my power to was “C.” I was determined that things would be different with C. I was determined to not need someone again. C was very different than any other therapist I had ever seen.
C needed me. This was not something I had ever experienced before. C needed my encouragement, my support, and my advice. C was being paid to be my therapist but I would frequently end up comforting C during my sessions.
C was intrigued by my story. While there is something called HIPPA which ensures confidentiality in a therapeutic relationship, C broke that quickly. Telling everyone about this “fascinating case.”
Because C was so needy of me, I did not realize that I was once again handing over my power. My desire to continue to work with C led me to do whatever C asked of me. I was being molded like a ball of clay. C wanted to be my friend, my family, my business partner. I was honored. I changed my geographical location, my religion, and some of my deepest beliefs for C. Right back into the same pattern. Like a chameleon, changing myself to fit whatever was needed for survival.
C was lying to people about our relationship. Minimizing how intense it was becoming. C knew what was happening was unethical. I was under the delusion that C was truly going to be able to save me. I verbalized my concerns over our relationship several times. However, I was assured that what we were doing was what was needed for my healing.
I had given my power away, AGAIN
C was enthralled by my abuse history. C would encourage me to share the details of my sexual assault and abuse. It didn’t feel right. I would often leave session feeling violated. Re-traumatized. But a text would always come shortly after I left stating how proud C was of me. Promising me that I was doing what was needed. This encouraged me to keep going.
C began saying “I love you.”
These were not words I was familiar with, but they were words I had longed for. I was so desperate for love that I didn’t realize the incongruency between the words and the behaviors. With these words came a new level of commitment to whatever C asked me to do.
I lost myself
Giving away your power, molding yourself into something that someone else desires, is dangerous. Your judgment gets clouded. You begin to lose the connection with your inner voice.
Even though I knew what C was doing was unethical, I was so desperate to be saved, to be fixed, to be loved, that I was willing to ignore my inner voice. To ignore my own sense of right and wrong.
C began suggesting that the only way I would heal is to experience sexual feelings in a safe and loving therapeutic relationship. I trusted C, but it felt wrong in many ways. C insisted this was what I needed. C suggested that we go away together on a trip.
My relationship with my therapist turned into a form of sexual abuse that I had not experienced before, and it was devastating. There are reasons that there are laws about not having sexual relations between therapist and client. It was not a torturous, abusive relationship, it was a soul crushing one.
My last therapist crushed me in a way that set me free.
What was I doing?
Was enough enough?
Why could I not find someone to save me? To heal me?
A realization came over me like a warm blanket on a cold night.
Only I have the power to save me
That little voice inside of me that had for so long kept me going, was speaking again. It was almost instantaneous.
Only I could heal me. Only I had the power.
A good therapist does not claim that they can save or heal you. They provide guidance, support, and hold a safe space for you while you do your own healing. But because I, like so many, believed I needed someone on the outside to save me, I was attracting therapists that held the same belief. They abused their positions of power. And I was just reliving the same patterns of feeling like someone else’s property. Of just doing what I was told without thinking for myself. Enough was enough.
Taking my power back
For many years the idea of yoga had come up for me. I just hadn’t been ready. With this new realization, I began looking for someone that could teach me the path of yoga. I no longer wanted a savior. I wanted a teacher. I knew that I could no longer hand my power over to someone else. If I truly wanted healing, it was all on me. I would have to do the work.
That was THE turning point in my healing journey. I was taking back my power. I still wasn’t exactly sure what that was going to look like, but I was going to figure out how to heal myself. I was ready to do the work.
When I found Shanon, my yoga teacher, I knew that it was right. She was guiding me down a path of Self-realization. She asked nothing of me. She made no claims of being able to save me or heal me. She explained the practices. She explained energy. She held space in love. And she stepped back. The outcome was up to me.
Only YOU have the power to save YOU. You may need guidance, you may need support, but only you can do it. Take your power back.
With the power of my life back in my hands, I moved into the next phase of my healing journey. I look forward to sharing this next step with you soon!
Have you ever wished you could break the chains of fear and step fully into love? Shanon and Kim share their journey of healing from trauma, abuse, and programming through acceptance and love. Do you want to step out of fear? Subscribe and follow their journey.