Something I’ve realized over the last decade is that I love to learn. And not just any old thing. I love to learn about what makes people tick. Why they behave the way they do. And my very best teachers have been family members who’ve tried my patience and who’ve hurt me deeply. I know this sounds counter-intuitive but stay with me for a minute.
One of the more profound healings sessions I had about five years ago was an exploration and healing of moments in my young life when I felt disempowered. I lost my power. In hypnosis I was relaxed and asked to focus on the feeling of having my power taken (or something to that effect). When I was solidly connected with the feeling, I was guided to go back in time to the first time I felt this same feeling.
From there, I saw scenes of myself as a toddler wanting to do something and being forced to do something else. I can’t remember specifics at the moment, but it was likely something like being forced to stop playing and attend to something my mother wanted me to do. And later, as a teenager, having things done to me that I didn’t like. My will, my feeling of self-empowerment was broken.
My hypnotherapist walked me through a process of healing these parts of me who held feelings of disempowerment, and by the end of the hour long session I was a different person. It was amazing.
In my family, there were a few people who, because of their own insecurities, felt better when they could control me. Dominate me. With Mom, it was because she was mentally ill and wasn’t medicated until I was almost out of high school. When her mental health was balanced, she was self-confident and was a good mother. Unfortunately, when I was young and developing my own sense of self, mom was all over the place mentally and emotionally; her sense of self plummeted and she’d oscillate between becoming terribly depressed and delusional in mania. In both cases, she was very insecure, and when manic she’d try to bring back a sense of self-empowerment by controlling me: verbally lashing out at me.
Other than Mom, my older brother had issues of his own. The day he discovered feeling powerful by controlling me, he was hooked. Unfortunately for me, we were both very, very young. And try as I might, no matter how much I fought against him or complained to my mother, nothing changed. And unfortunately, as we grew up, his behavior moved from things like wrestling and trying to spit into my mouth when he had me pinned, to things sexual.
The more I protested, felt embarrassed and shameful, yet did my brother’s bidding, the more power he felt. The more power he wielded over me. The more he controlled and dominated me. It was a sick and twisted dynamic. And what most people don’t know is why someone like me didn’t just stand up to him. I did. Over and over again. I resisted and fought, and nothing changed. And once my will was broken, I was broken.
I learned to read people around me. I read my mother’s tone of voice. I read her state of mental health (or lack thereof) and learned how to survive. Either hide or do her bidding. Eventually, as a teenager I began to give back what I got.
The dynamic with my brother was a bit more twisted because as a child, I thought I caused his behavior. I thought I was doing something wrong to cause him to be mean to me, to dominate me. If I were more this way or that way, he’d like me and wouldn’t be mean to me. I kept wanting him to like me, to let me play with him and his friends, to accept me, support and validate me. This is how a child’s mind works.
I was like his little monkey continually jumping for the banana, not realizing that inside the pretty yellow peel was rotten fruit.
The things I saw during healing sessions taught me that when a person has a pattern of dominating another person, it’s because of feeling insecure and impotent inside. Total lack of self-worth and empowerment.
They end up causing in another what they’re feeling.
The Law of Attraction says we attract or create what we energetically emmanate. When powerlessness is our point of attraction, that’s what we create more of. In the case of my brother, in order for him to feel a sense of power, he’d control me and make me do things I didn’t want to do. But I did them because I wasn’t powerful enough to stop him. It was a vicious cycle.
As a young girl I grew up with low self-esteem and self-confidence. Growing up, going out on my own and getting away from my family, I was able to begin to develop a sense of power and confidence in myself. With Mom on medication, that relationship improved. But the wonky power dynamic between my brother and I kept up until I started to work on myself in my late thirties.
Therapy and healing work changed me. Bit by bit I changed on the inside. I met and healed parts of my wounded inner child. I brought back power, self-esteem, and self-confidence. In fact, I brought back so much of my own inner authority that I’ve recently been able to advocate for myself in a very big way.
After my parents died and left my brothers and me two properties, within the first year of joint ownership my older brother began to complain about finances and complain about this and that, regarding one of the properties. After a chat with older brother, he’d calm down and be ok until the next year. Complaints about the same things kept coming up and it got old fast.
Two summers ago, I experienced an inner healing shift so profound that it dissolved any and all desire to continue a relationship with my older brother. I finally no longer wanted what I never had – in the way of a loving and supportive older brother. I was left knowing that our relationship had run its course. I was done. Anger about the past was healed. The desire for him to change disappeared. All longing ache for him to be something he wasn’t, dissolved.
However, as long as we co-owned these properties I’d have to deal with this brother. So I decided to give up part of my inheritance (my share of one property) in exchange for his giving up his share of the property that was always so contentious. And a year ago, I shared my proposal with my brother and his wife. A simple swap that would involve a few signatures.
Long story short, they weren’t onboard with my proposal until I pointed out that I had the legal right to press criminal charges against my brother and sue him in civil court (and likely win). And even if I didn’t address his past in this way, I could blow up his life in other ways simply by telling mutal friends and co-workers about his secret past.
After months of putting my case forward to my brother and his wife; why I needed to separate from him and that it was going to happen my way, we reached an impass. They refused to hear me and tried a number of times to bully and control me, but with my new perspective and sense of empowerment, my boundaries were rock solid. I hired a lawyer.
After just over a year of working to separate myself from the brother who stole my sense of power, a true energy vampire, I’m finally free. Just the other week. We swapped shares of inherited properties and I’ll never have to see or speak to him again.
And THAT is how to take your power back!