Sunday, August 2, 2015

Post Estrangement - What Happens When We Take Back Our Power?

Change is just around the corner....
Photoart by Renate Dundys Marrello 
The terms for renewing a relationship change the longer the estrangement lasts.  

In the beginning, we would be willing to do almost anything even grovel and beg for a morsel of connection with our estranging adult offspring.

Then as we heal we learn that we should not be expected to grovel. 

Renewed self-respect teaches us that to grovel is to be subjugated and powerless.  

No relationship between equals 
is meant to be so unequal.  

So what happens when we take our power back?  

What changes when we refuse to be emotionally manipulated anymore?  

What happens when they discover we no longer are willing to grovel and beg for their affection?

I believe that this change in us; more than any of the original grudges or complaints from the past, continues to keep them away.

How can they come back to a relationship where they are no longer in control?  After all the reason so many of them estrange us in the first place is to exert control over us.  

  • Their words and / or actions said "do things the way I demand or else".  
  • How many of us were given an "ultimatum"  to follow their rules?  
  • How many of us were told what we HAD TO DO to meet the criterion for being accepted into their lives?  
  • How many of us were left feeling that we are being punished for going against something they wanted, expected, assumed was their right?  
  • How many of us have felt that we were being co-erced / blackmailed into giving them something they wanted in exchange for the "privileged" of being allowed into their lives? 

So by being estranged we are suffering the consequences of their punishment.  Their control over us is emotionally punishing us for not giving them what they demanded.  And this control lasts until we recognize that this is not right!

When we say no that is not how a mature relationship is managed we change!  

When we say out loud and vocally, no this is not how I will allow myself to be treated, they have a new excuse to stay away. Now we are a threat to their power balance. Now their new excuse to continue the estrangement is "you have changed".  And we have!   

Because of their actions, we have been to hell and back again!  
  • That process, the grief and the healing, both change who we are.  
  • The process teaches us about boundaries that protect our well-being and our emotional health. 
  • The process teaches us about personality types and character disturbances and other emotional manipulators. 
  • The process toughens us up (what does not kill you makes you stronger.

This journey forces us, out of necessity, to grow and change. And the biggest, most changing thing we learn is that we can't allow ourselves to be emotionally abused and blackmailed and maintain our integrity and self-respect!  We have to choose.  And when we choose personal integrity and self respect the dynamics change! 

How can a bully, used to manipulating and controlling through emotional blackmail, come back to a relationship where they no longer get to be the bully?  How can they come back where they no longer have the power of fear over us?

I think this healing transformation angers those who use the threat of shunning and rejection to estrange and control us. I think that as we heal they start to see us as a threat to their power over us.  
  • As we get stronger their ability to control and manipulate us diminishes. 
  • As we take back our power and our right to a good life with good friends and good interactions they lose the power of punishing us by controlling our sorrow. 
  • As we no longer allow bullying and emotional abuse to affect us they can no longer cause us pain. 

Their strength lies in the amount of pain they can inflict upon our lives.  

When we heal to the point where their actions no longer leave us curled up in emotional agony they have no more power over us. When we cut the emotional strings they use to manipulate and control our feelings we are no longer their puppet and we become free. 

I have reached that point.  It is liberating!  Her actions no longer cause me pain!  In fact her latest act of rejection made me laugh because it was so transparent and pathetic.  Now that I see so clearly the intent of the action for what it is, an attempt to inflict pain, it no longer has that effect!  Here she was hoping to cause me pain and instead I laughed at her pathetic effort to try to emotionally manipulate me yet again.  

  • Learning has taught me to understand and how to interpret these actions of emotional abuse. 
  • Knowledge of how manipulative people use these various tactics to hurt others no longer has the hurtful impact upon me that they used to have! 
  • Now that these actions and behaviours have been revealed to me as tools used to inflict confusion and pain upon others, they no longer have the same power they once had to hurt me.
  • The Emperor is not wearing any clothes! 

And as I laugh I am able to feel compassion for a person that feels the need to play such games to bolster their ego.  Even as I acknowledge that what is being done is morally wrong I can feel sorry for the person that is reduced to taking those kinds of actions to bandage an un-meet need in their lives.

Knowledge is indeed power.
Knowledge has set me free. 

Renate Dundys Marrello 

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  1. Wow....that is powerful, what a great blog!

  2. thank you. another one i will take into my therapist office and reread out loud, as if i am "there". i am not, but i am well on my way.

  3. This is another great post I will read, and re-read. "Cut those puppet strings" and they have no means to control me! What a "novel" and important relevation. Gracias, amiga. Gracias.

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