July 13, 2011

Powerlessness and Problematic People

I am powerless over my emotions... but that does not keep me from wanting them to change, or even from refusing to let them change.  But those choices cause pain. 

I seem to keep coming back to understanding powerlessness. If I am not ready to acknowledge that I am here to work on being powerless over my emotions, then powerlessness has so many forms to believe in. For example,  I am powerless over people, places, things.. and the outcomes of my efforts.

Last night in meditation, I rested and reflected when I rediscovered the gentle truth of Step One:  It is not about admitting I am hopeless. It is not about shaming myself.  It is about allowing myself to accept my situation as it is: that I am today and forever powerless over my emotions. 

When I am doing well, I appreciate that my emotions have a lot to tell me about myself and my responses to the world. 

When I am not doing so well, I can  make choices that have me trying to push my emotions away, and deny and criticize myself for having emotions at all.  Another way I can make life unmanageable by not accepting powerlessness is to use my emotions to push other people away, judge them and even criticize their shares. (Rest assured,  that such criticisms stay  in my head-- they hurt me.) 

Maybe that is why there is the 12-step truth statement that "hurt people hurt people."  Hurting others is a way of not staying with our pain.   It is also a way of not being alone. (The reverse intention of our You are not Alone, slogan?)  These days, HP seems to be showing me that I need to step aside and not be target to anyone else's hurt, no matter how much I empathize with where they are coming from.  Even if I have made a mistake with them, and cannot apologize for fear of being hurt and judged all over again.

That, I have learned, is why sometimes direct amends are not healthy. If I make a direct amends, let's say, to a problem parent or other close relative, and they have shown themselves to be an abuser, they are likely to turn the words against me. And abuse me all over again.  I believe Step nine is not meant to let  others shame or misunderstand me and hurt me all over again.  Of course, I need be cautious about using anticipated abuse as an excuse, but if I know a person's patterns are to abuse, it is best to wait for HP's guidance and not my WILL to make an amend a reality.  

In my program walk with problematic people in my life who continue to hurt me despite good strong efforts supported by therapy, I have learned it best to make amends in other ways.  My biggest amends is not in repairing bridges with my childhood authority figures, and sometimes it can't happen with abusive people in my life right now.   Instead, I need to ask my HP for help in forgiving myself and in making changes in the way I conduct my future interactions.   In my life, I try to make amends by not doing to others what was done to me.

Lately, I have put my face into the future, preparing for the new ways I expect to be powerless.  It might help for me to write those down in a journal and ask HP to help me with each.. so that I stop trying so hard to change my mind about them....

1 comment:

  1. I do need to forgive myself. I also don't need to be trampled on by others. If I think highly enough of myself, I won't be run over by those who are abusive.


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