I think this blog post will undoubtedly be filed under “The most difficult but most essential blog post written on here yet”. For the sake of others, I will also highlight this with trigger warnings for touching on topics such as rape, abuse, and assault. However, I will urge those who HAVE undergone such things to read this post, as I hope it will be of help to you.
Before I begin, a caveat: I am a Certified Life Coach, not a licensed therapist or counselor. I am speaking strictly from my personal experience and what has worked for me. You may find that some of what I say will not work for you. In that instance, consult a professional. Here’s a list of important hotlines for people in need of help, take a look at it and see if anything there may be of use to you.
People often give their personal power away regularly albeit unintentionally. Other times it is taken from them. In both cases, they need to recover from the damage done to them, their lives, and of course in their magickal practice.
The Law of Attraction has been written and spoken about to death, and the biggest detractor/rebuttal to it has been questions such as “But what about people who undergo massive trauma such as rape, attempted murder, war, or assault?” What about when there are people in your life who have wronged you in some way, shape or form? I personally think that the Law of Attraction has been massively misunderstood and oversimplified by well-intentioned people, and even used against others as a form of New Age Bullying. The original idea is never and has never been about either blaming people, victimizing them, or taking away their personal power–rather in fact, the opposite. It’s been about empowerment and taking control over your life, even in the face of hardship and struggle. Because of all of the negative connotations that this whole “Law of Attraction” approach now has towards sensitive issues like this, I won’t even address it in this blog post as I think it’ll detract from the overall message and scope of what I want to write about, which is reclaiming your personal power.
First of all, the absolute worst thing you can do in the process of trying to get back your sense of self and personal power is to place the blame of what happened on you. Where you were, what you did, who you chose to hang out with, and all of that line of questioning won’t help you. Unfortunately too often after a series of events such as a bad or abusive relationship, personal trauma, etc. it’s hard to shift focus. Once that power has been taken away, it often continues to be leeched away. Having had that experience, knowing what it is like, it changes things. It changes us. We may even get used to being depleted, which of course doesn’t help in any way, shape, or form.
Then there’s the other side of the coin. We want the party who wronged us to face some sort of karmic retribution, and a part of us may feel that if we let go of what happened to us we are somehow excusing it, that if we manage to somehow “get over it” that it wasn’t a big deal to begin with. At the same time, it’s challenging to not review what happened in our own minds and try to think of ways we could’ve prevented it, could’ve seen it coming. The scars from these sorts of things can affect people for years.
I am not writing this blog post without personal experience. I have been in an abusive relationship, am a two-time survivor of date rape, and had someone who had been my best friend sexually assault and threaten me with rape. Coming back after that was difficult. It affected my spiritual work, my personal development, health, finances, pretty much everything. I spent a good year or two afterwards just “getting by”, struggled with emotions ranging from depression and anger to total numbness, and have described the experience as being out of “cell phone range” from the gods. I found that ultimately what helped me was realizing that I could not wait around for a major change or a breakthrough, I had to take small steps and cherish small victories. As they piled up over time, my life became easier and better. I got healthier, my finances got better, and I started to feel good again about myself and my life.
Reclaiming yourself and getting yourself back on track is ultimately your road to victory. It means not letting the guilty party continue to win over you. It also means forgiving yourself for what you never should’ve had to forgive yourself for in the first place, which is being a person with feelings, emotions, and the capacity to have bad things happen to them. So ultimately what you may need to do is to forgive yourself for needing to forgive yourself, and that’s okay. Realizing that what happened was not your fault and that you CAN get back in the driver’s seat again is a form of release, but it is one of those things which can take time. You will have good days and bad, but in the end the bad days will get fewer in number and the good days will increase.
One of the things I determined for myself after what happened to me was that I wanted to get out there and do positive things, be a stronger and better magician, and inspire others to transform their lives. It also forced me to take stock of what was important for myself in the grand scheme of things, beyond life and death, and what would ultimately let me live a happy and fulfilling life with purpose.
Here’s my list of things of what I did that helped me over time:
- Take time out for yourself. Watch good movies, read great books, listen to your favorite music.
- Make a to-do list every day of absolutely everything that must get done daily. Put events and reminders of them on a calendar. You may find that during this time that your usual memory, especially short term, will not be as good as it normally is, and these lists and reminders will save you grief and added stress later. Anything that is on that list, bite off the biggest pain in the ass that’s on there first and get it done and out of the way so you can focus on the rest of your day. Eat that Frog! by Brian Tracy touches on this and more.
- Take care of yourself. Physical exercise has been my best source of sanity. Go outside for a walk, go running, find something to do which is physically active that you enjoy. Emphasis on ENJOY. Also, eat good, healthy food as often as you can and do your best to avoid any habits which are self destructive such as eating bad food, overindulging in alcohol, etc. The better your body feels, the better YOU will feel. Anything else is a temporary distraction to mask the pain for a few moments and will make you feel even more miserable after and will negatively impact your physical health besides. Please trust me on this.
- When hit with bad memories, thoughts, or feelings caused by previous events, you may want to distract yourself with things which are fun and frivolous. Watch cute kitten videos on YouTube. ANYTHING. 80s movies, cartoons, and comedy have been hugely wonderful for me.
- HOWEVER…you may find that there are times when you DO need to process your feelings and emotions about what happened to you. Doing that versus repressing them may be of use to you. Trying to figure out when you are processing versus when you are dwelling can be a challenge. If you are finding that your negative feelings and thoughts are getting in the way of every day life, I would pursue #4 first before doing #5. If it gets too much and #4 isn’t working, please consider getting in touch with a professional, especially if #4 is beginning to look more like the symptoms of PTSD. I’ll be touching more on the subject of how to deal with bad thoughts and feelings when I get to #9 and #10 on the list, so stick around.
- Remember the people in your life who DO support you and care about you. You’ll have moments when you’ll want to retreat into your shell and others where you’ll need to be surrounded by positive people. Having a nice balance of both will help you.
- Eliminate absolutely everything and everyone in your life who is a drain on you, your energy, your emotions, and your resources. If you’re dealing with any form of struggle to reclaim your personal power, this is essential. You may find that you have some toxic relationships to dump. Avoid the Negative Nancies like the plague. You’ll find that some people want to feed off of you as opposed to help you during this time. Identify them as quickly as you can (some will take the burden away from you and will identify themselves without your help), and quietly distance yourself from them. You will be grateful for it.
- Find things which inspire you and surround yourself with them. When the going gets tough, turn to those things for support and direction. This could be anything from your favorite personal development books to your spirituality, it could be music, it could be whoever is your personal hero. It does not matter. Whatever will inspire you and make you feel good AND is good for you, find it and thrive in it.
- Do healing work. Get Reiki done, do healing spells, etc. Find whatever magick and energy work you can do in order to help you to better deal with the problem and DO IT.
- When the negative thoughts and feelings do occur, ask yourself why you feel this way or what brought it up. Then–and here is a question which may seem weird to you–ask yourself what fears you may have if you were to stop thinking or feeling this way. Once you uncover any, ask yourself if you really believe that those fears are true. Keep digging. Sometimes we think that emotions and feelings happen out of nowhere when in fact we have utterly no idea that our unconscious mind is really, really busy and hard at work dealing with all of the stuff we’re not aware that we’re busy processing.
- There are two things which will not necessarily always be your friend during this time, and you’ll have to learn how to reprogram them. One is your thoughts, and the other is your feelings. Each will affect the other in a vicious cycle. If you focus on the things which make you feel good, you will think good thoughts. If you focus on the good thoughts, you will feel good. Ending the cycle of internal negativity is challenging, but it can be done. Again, as always, small victories and steps will snowball over time.
- If you ever get to the point where you feel like you can’t handle this on your own, either find some good self-help books on the subject, see a therapist, or call an appropriate hotline for support and guidance. There’s only so much any one of us can do or deal with, and if we’ve reached our limit, that’s okay. It doesn’t make us bad, broken, crazy, damaged, or worthless–it just means that we have some stuff to process which a third party may be more equipped to help us deal with. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
There is no right or wrong way to deal with this, there’s just what works for you and ultimately makes you healthy and happy. There is also no such as thing “that pain is greater than this pain”; get rid of your sense of worthiness in terms of whatever you went through and whether or not it qualifies as something to be concerned about. Ditch comparisons. It doesn’t matter if you were dumped by the love of your life, were raped and/or sexually assaulted, had your home robbed, lost your job, lost your pet, lost a family member, lost a spouse/significant other, etc. Pain is pain, period. Anyone who tries to tell you otherwise, ditch them too. No one should have to feel guilty or feel that they are not worthy of expressing that they are suffering for whatever discernible reason or cause. How you go about dealing with the struggling, what happened to you to get you to this point, and how you feel about it has no bearing on your worthiness as a person or as a magician. As always, this is ultimately the best time to do personal work and growth as it will help you to recover.
As always, if you want to talk, I’m here.