Take Back Your Power

People who thought they knew best drove me crazy when I was trying to be a victimized-know nothing-powerless-whiny-whining pants. They kept making it sound like I had some CONTROL over what happened to me. How annoying.

After about 3 months of therapy my therapist started doing this REALLY ANNOYING thing of reframing my sentences that started with My ex did and changed it to “I allowed my ex to…”

Me: “My ex abused me.”
T: “I allowed my ex to abuse me.”
Me: “My ex cheated on me/had inappropriate relationships(“friendships”) with other women.”
T: “I allowed my ex to cheat on me/have inappropriate relationships (“friendships”) with other women.”
Me: “My boyfriend takes advantage of me.”
T: “I allow my boyfriend to take advantage of me.”
Me: “My boyfriend owes me money.”
T: “I foolishly allowed my boyfriend to borrow money.”


She kept bringing it back to me.

How DARE she?????

One 12-step sponsor: “When you point your finger you have 4 fingers pointing back.”
Me: “Technically it’s 3 fingers and a thumb.”
Sponsor: “Aiy”
Me: “I know semantics, semantics.”
Sponsor: “That’s not semantics. It’s some antics on your part that is obstructing your ability to LISTEN to what you need to hear.”

Another 12-step sponsor: “If you’re looking for sympathy, you’ll find it in the dictionary between shit and syphillis.”

Same person: “I don’t care what anyone else has done or are going to do. I only care about what you’re doing and that’s all YOU should care about and you’re not going to get better until you realize that.”

Same person yet again after I went through some 35 minute recitation of my weekend with loser boyfriend and what he did: “The only question is: is your side of the street clean?” It wasn’t but I was so not ready to admit that or even talk about it!!! Sheesh.

Same person yet again: “You’re not a victim; you’re a volunteer.”

Some random Al-Anon lady after a meeting where I shared about how many people had hurt me for so long: “You want to hand the world your pain and you can’t do that. YOU OWN IT and most people don’t care about it.”

My response to all of this was, usually, HHHRRRRUMPH followed by STOMP STOMP STOMP and internal thoughts of “Oh screw you.”

But eventually all of this started to influence me. I did stop saying “My boyfriend did this to me” and did say, “Holy crap! I allowed my boyfriend to do this to me..” and I did start realizing that the only one I could change was me.

When these things started to SINK IN TO MY THICK BRONX IRISH BRAIN things started to change.

I had to take back the power that I had given away to others. I had to stop waiting for the world to feel sorry for me and rescue me. (it wasn’t ever going to happen) and I had to stop allowing inappropriate behavior from people. It wasn’t what they were doing TO ME, it was what I allowed to be DONE.

Once I learned that by building my self-esteem, figuring out where my boundaries were and how to enforce them and, most of all, TAKING RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT HAPPENED TO ME, things changed.

I didn’t like the messages. I was NOT crazy about the way they were delivered.

But they saved my life.

And you really can’t find an issue with that.

Take back your power. It starts with taking responsibility not only for what you’ve done and are doing but for what you’ve allowed others to do.

Remember, it does not MATTER what they are doing, but what you’ve done and are doing.

Take back your power.

Live your life.

Start with YOU.

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7 Responses to Take Back Your Power

  1. Kat says:

    I have a tendency to want people to know I’m sad or having a tough time. I want sympathy from people, but I know that I should be focusing on what I’m doing and finding strength within myself. This article is a great wakeup call. I should seek less sympathy and more responsibility for taking my own power back. I don’t know how long this journey will be, but I am glad that you’ve provided me with these valuable resources and road maps. Thanks, Susan.

  2. SnugglesKD says:

    Sometimes we’re not ready or willing to hear what we need to do to move on, get better, and be who we’re meant to be. Eventually, we realize that our own approach is not helping and we truly need to take accountability for our actions and reactions. Thanks for the healthy reminder.

  3. jasmine79 says:

    I’m having so many problems accepting that my husband left me the same day I lost my pregnancy at 22 weeks. He had multiple affairs and would freely introduce his mistresses to other people and his family. Its now been 3 weeks since I lost the baby and him, and I cant get past it. I keep complaining to my friends about the way he treated me, blaming him for being so horrible. This article has opened my eyes to the fact that he was treating me the way that i was letting him treat me.

    • flash407 says:


      I am so sorry to hear about the dual losses you are having to face. I cannot imagine the grief the ending of a marriage brings to be compounded with the loss of a pregnancy.

      It might be hard but you need to recognise that any man who leaves his wife the day she loses his child is not a man worth pining for. Susan has made comments andnposts abut love being an action. His actions echo deeply the type of person he is and NO ONE deserves to be treated like that.

      If you dont have Susans book, I urge you to purchase it or download it. It really helps guide you through the process of letting go of a toxic relationship. The relationship inventory is especially helpful. When I completed it, I realised that I had been in an unhappy marriage for a long timemand one that gave very little love, emotional support. It makes you look at the relationship in an honest manner and see the good with the bad.

      Hang in there. I urge you to get some counselling. You have a big cyber support system here as well.

  4. maxine0823 says:

    When I reported to my long time psychologist about my recent break up I went to her to try and figure out what went wrong (read: what I did to push this “wonderful, kind hearted, gift of a man– WHO HE IS NOT) and how I had contributed. It was a huge sigh of relief that the only thing that I did wrong was “Not take care of myself and not look or listen to red flags” maybe to most it would have been a blow to the ego, but for me it was a RELIEF to know that all I did was not listen to myself. That, you can control., that you can learn a lesson from. It was eating me alive to think that I had somehow maybe acted in a way that would make him treat me the way that I did. Well, I did, but not in the way I thought. I just accepted it, and to reframe that, while it hurts, it is just another step in the journey of deciding boundaries and what you don’t want. That made me feel excited because she basically handed the control back to me when I felt like I was tumbling.

  5. kmwhite38 says:

    I love this blog, it is great. I bought and read the book twice this weekend. It is day 27 – 8 days no contact. Here I sit at home, instead of working, sick with that “sick” feeling. I came to the blog, wanting to get that brick dropped on my head to wake me up and stop feeling sorry, and crying over someone who left me after 9 years of back and forth. After reading the above article I realize, the reason I am sitting here is because I am allowing myself to sit here. I am yearning for something that was so broken – it was unhealthy, it was un-happiness at its worst. I stood by a man who emotionally checked out, did drugs, lied to me, but all the while, checking my phone records, telling me I was crazy, controlling everything and everyone in my life, all the while “saying” he loved me and what a great person he was. He makes alot of money, is successful, I also make good money, own my own home, raise my son and pay all my own way. I was pushed to the point of rages, and really did go a bit crazy for a while- I had no power, because I gave it away to a man, who has no idea what love really is. I obviouslly have some co-dependant issues to work out, I have some power to take back. I gave up who I was in hope of someone loving me the way I thought I needed and wanted to be loved. Every single person in my life, tells me how strong I am, how independant, how great, but I don’t feel like that person. I feel like a FAKE. While he is out in the world with another woman, posting on FB for me and all of our friends to see, I sit here embarrassed, humilited and wondering how I got here… Reading the above article, tells me exactly how I got here. Thanks for this site, it just might get me where I need to be… Happy with ME!!

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