There’s a natural give and take that permeates throughout the universe, and each one of us is contributes to the effect. Every being we encounter has some pull on us, just as we contribute to the ebb and flow of others. Much of it isn’t a conscious effort, but the impacts are there either way.
Many of us regularly hand over our power to others. In some cases, we don’t have much of a choice; we must submit to local laws, landlords, employers and the like because society agrees to their authority over certain aspects of our lives. There are also many cases where we hand over our power to people and entities that have no right to it. Manipulative people can weasel their way in and take over – and sometimes we even freely give up all of it on our own accord.
However it happens, when we lose too much of ourselves to others, we may need to fight to reclaim our power.
Far too many of us fall into the webs of manipulators, and we may find it difficult to break free. Mental games and low blows can take their toll, especially when we’re dealing with narcissists or seasoned power players. We may devise approaches for mitigating their effects, only to find ourselves derailed the moment we engage.
When we wind up in full-blown battles over our autonomy, mere attempts to set boundaries usually aren’t enough. We might need to distance ourselves from the other party completely before we see anything that resembles sanity in our lives. This might look like a change in employers or dumping an ex for good. In some cases, we might need to pack up and move for a fresh start. Extremes aren’t always the way to go, but there are times when creating physical distance is the only way to heal.
The biggie is cutting off ways for the person to continue their manipulation. They don’t deserve the “in,” so cut as many ties as possible. Some situations can make this move complicated, but in most cases, we best serve ourselves by quietly turning our backs on those who don’t deserve our energy.
Special approaches might be necessary for shedding narcissists.
In some cases, we give up power by refusing to let go of circumstances beyond our control. We invest so much of our energy in attempts to ease our anger or anxiety that we lose sight of our healthy perspective. This problem is especially the case if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the angst of feeling wronged.
When we fall into this type of trap, we wind up syphoning off our energy in fruitless directions, exhausting ourselves over issues where we ultimately hold no power. We’re digging holes in the garden without planting anything to harvest later.
A practice called radical acceptance can be of great help here. It asks us to take a step back from ourselves and assess a situation without judgment or emotion. We can become so caught up in what isn’t fair, shouldn’t have happened, etc. that we generate new misery over that which originally triggered our angst. When we let go of all the “ought to” and “what if” statements and replace them with perspective and acceptance, we’re much more likely to come to peace with our personal setbacks and injustices.
It’s also important to take charge where we can. This doesn’t mean micromanage the household or become the office policy enforcer at work; it means digging deep and finding areas where you might have more power than you realize. Start a side hustle. Begin (or finish) working on a degree. Look into local resources that can help you realize the happy, healthy, productive person you want to be. There is always a solution, even if temporary hurdles make it feel impossible at the moment.
Life can be brutal. Not one of us gets through this beautiful adventure unscathed. And ultimately, our greatest tests of character come with our darkest moments. Take a deep breath, pull yourself back to your feet, and keep moving forward. As long as you’re still breathing, anything is possible.