Power Politics or True Empowerment
by Cynthia M Chase
With awareness, we have choice. Knowing the “truth” can set us free. This blog is based on personal and 30 plus years of clinical experience. It is my hope that by sharing the intricacies and inner workings of abusive relationships, both abuser and the victims of their abuse can be set free from their suffering and pain.
The depth of pain felt by those dis-empowered is extraordinary. Sometimes people say, “It’s only emotional pain, not physical.” No scars or black and blue marks are left, but the psychological wounding is profound. Just because the effects are not physically evident doesn’t mean that it hurts any less. The hidden twistings and turnings that make up an emotionally abusive relationship can be hard to describe. The Police won’t arrest the abuser since their ways are hidden behind closed doors and sometimes even the victim doesn’t understand what is happening.
Accommodations are made, subtle adjustments are put in place to placate the abuser and to try to keep safe. Over time the victim doesn’t often notice the ground lost or the confidence diminished. Denial is the constant companion of the victim. I was there, I know. It is because of my own pain, years of denial and devastated self-esteem that I had to fight to empower my own life. “What is wrong with me?” “What is wrong with him/her that makes me hurt so?” These are the questions that plagued me. This is my contribution to those of you who are suffering victims. If you know what makes you vulnerable to these manipulations and if you begin to track the motivations, techniques and behaviors of the Abuser, you have a chance to change your life.
The Abusers are in pain as well but are more difficult to help: often they fight awareness of what they do, how much pain they cause, and sometimes don’t even care. Certain Abusers act as though their feelings are the only ones that matter. I offer compassion to you – you may not even know the loss of humanity that has robbed you of a heart. Look carefully at yourself. Understand that this loss deprives you of true empowerment. The power that you seek over your Victim is a hollow victory. Where is the happiness and contentment that you deserve? You can never find it by using, manipulating or overpowering the other.
As a psychotherapist of over 30 years I have seen hundreds of people caught in the web of an emotionally abusive relationship. I have shared many of the ideas with my patients which I will now present to you. They have been helped and have urged me to spread the word so that others may also seek their own salvation. I honor them as I share my insights with you now.
I will be introducing ongoing chapters on this blog, Power Politics or True Empowerment on a regular basis. I welcome your feedback and the sharing of your experience.
Abusive relationships are based on the belief that external power over another leads to “winning.” What I have seen is that, on the contrary, abuser and victim become “locked in a death embrace” and both lose, unless detachment is achieved. Detachment facilitates the ability to “come home” to the self, to grow, and move towards self love.
I have separated the abusers into two categories: The stealth hunters and the raptors. Based on nature’s model the first group hunts in the dark, keeping somewhat hidden in their search for prey and tending to camouflage their aggression. My focus here will be on stealth hunters. The second group, the raptors, is the equivalent of birds of prey: they attack, maim, and kill their prey. This may be the focus of a later blog. Just know that in reality, there may be a fuzzy line between the stealth hunters and the raptors.
First I want to talk to you about the abuse cycle. Then I will identify the characteristics of the stealth hunters and the victims or prey. We will approach this dysfunctional relationship in terms of how the abuser and victim connect with their energies so you can see why it is so difficult to “untangle the web”. Then we will take a look at what a healthy relationship looks like and what kind of healing is needed to be free and empowered.
We will delve into the Bill of Rights for both the Abuser and the Victim and end with thoughts on how to heal both the hunters and the prey.
The journey is one from darkness and despair to freedom and light. It’s not an easy journey but one worth traveling. There is hope! Let’s begin.