Power

Funny, I saw my brand new T last night for the second time, and again I had the same experience that something he said hit home for me not during our session, but hours later, in fact, today, just now.  I want to share what he said, cuz I think it was damn smart of him to say it, and I’m sure that he won’t give a hoot that I’m sharing it here.  Actually, he’ll probably think it’s cool that I’m saying I learned something last night instead of sitting on my butt saying, “Yeah, yeah, yeah” and then getting up and leaving.

So here’s what he said.  I know I’m not quoting properly, but in a nutshell….

“Julie, I have no desire to have any kind of power over you.  I have nothing personal to gain from controlling you in any way.  It wouldn’t be good for my Karma.”

Later, he said, “I’m not in it for the money.  But I think you know that.”

I thought, “Well, gee, why is he explaining all this stuff about Karma?  It’s not necessary.  It’s too complicated.  He can just tell me he’s not on a power trip, and assure me I can trust him, and we can leave it at that.”

But I thought about this today, real hard, and realized that although I don’t believe in Karma, and his belief system is none of my business, I have to realize that people have had power over me in the past, and that’s what he’s talking about. He wasn’t talking about himself. He was talking about those people.

It’s very, very simple.  People who have had power over me in the past had something to gain personally from taking advantage of me.   That thing, whatever it was they needed, they got from me, and kept on getting from me as long as I gave it to them.  I was not aware of this of course, or barely, or it couldn’t be stopped, depending.  It happened on many levels.

I should probably give an example out of my distant past.  This was back in my 20’s, when I had my driver’s license and a car.  I’ll make up a name for the person for anonymity’s sake.  So let’s call her Anita.  She was an old friend whom I hooked up with hoping for something a bit more mutual, I guess you would say, than how it ended up.  When she saw my car, her eyes widened and she said to me, “Oh, can you drive me to—”  This began a string of demands that never seemed to end.  Every time she called, she wanted me to drive her somewhere, wait for her to shop, and then drive her somewhere else.  I had to drive her to appointments, where she’d leave angry, and then mouth off to me about how horribly the appointments had turned out.  The shopping was endless, and then, she went and returned what she had bought, angry as ever at the shop owners.  Much of the time in my car, she yelled about how angry she was and about how unfair life was.  Then she demanded that I drive her someplace else.

Then, one day, she called and said, “Drive me to the hospital.  I’m going in.”  I was so glad this woman was going to be “out of commission” for a while and that she was not going to be using me for my car.  I was finally free.

This is a very simplified example of me being a total pushover, of course, so it’s real obvious and I can point out how this woman was personally gaining from taking advantage of me.  She was personally gaining a ride.  Every time she asked for a ride, she got one.  So she kept on taking.  She didn’t have dollar signs in her eyes, she had car signs.  So in my 20’s, when I saw that a lot of my friends had nothing but car signs in their eyes, I decided to get rid of the car and the car sign friends went along their way.  I told myself, “Good riddance.”

It’s time for me to get rid of people who aim to take power, even in the subtlest ways.  Meanwhile, my T points out that I tend to assume all people take power, and this isn’t true.  Not all therapists are like my previous abusive T that I fired a year ago, though most are.  My last T wasn’t.  She just didn’t do anything.  Not all humans are mean bullies.  Some people are naive, some are ignorant, some are kind, some just don’t know.  Some you can’t assume anything.  Many are just kids, some are looking the other way, some speak a different language, some are dead already, some are on drugs, some can’t hear too well so you have to repeat yourself, most are too busy texting or stuffing their faces to care, some are on another bus altogether.

Where are you?  Are you sitting at the table?

Feedback and comments welcome!