Steps to Self-Empowerment
Whether you really are a victim in an abusive relationship or see yourself as one in your life, the solution is the same. These are suggested steps to achieving this freedom, not necessarily in the following order:
1. Learn all you can about your situation. Information is power. Read my blogs on abuse and books on codependency.
2. Get support from a therapist, experienced life coach, and/or a 12-Step Program.
3. Objectively observe others’ undesirable behavior and your reaction. Does your reaction make you feel better or stop the unwanted behavior? Do you also do some of the objectionable behavior? Experiment with other responses, including none, and see the result.
4. Are you aligned with your goals and values? What steps do you need to take to be in alignment?
5. Start meeting your needs. See the list in Codependency for Dummies.
6. What beliefs hinder you from accomplishing your goals.
7. Take responsibility for your choices. What feels different when you say “I want to,” instead of, “I have to,” and, “I don’t want to,” instead of, “I can’t?” Taking responsibility helps you accept your choices and initiates the opportunity for change.
8. Take action. Acquire the necessary skills and resources to achieve your goals. For example, if you’ve been nagging your partner to repair or clean something and s/he continually refuses to meet your request, either get the skills to do it yourself or hire someone who will. If lack of training or education stops you from pursuing a career you want, sign up for the requisite classes–even if it will take several years.
9. Learn to be assertive. This empowers you to be authentic, set limits, and to build your self-esteem.
10. Don’t blame or be defensive. Take responsibility for your happiness, unhappiness, and your part in disagreements and problems in relationships, whether or not others do the same. Make amends for your contribution.