Ways to Deal With Feeling Powerless
Sometimes things don't go the way I want them to, or believe they should. So I try to change the outcome. If I don't succeed, I feel powerless - the most terrifying feeling of them all. Here are various strategies I've used to deal with that terror. Results vary.
- •GET DRUNK OR HIGHOn the plus side, intoxication "works" fast. The physical sensation is overwhelming, which distracts from anxiety, obsessive thinking, etc. On the down side, it wears off. And the life circumstances that led to drinking/ drugging haven't changed (unless they've become worse due to stuff done while drunk/ high). Oh, but here's another plus - there's always someone who's willing to get drunk/ high, too! Nothing is scarier than powerless AND alone.
- •HAVE SEXSimilar payoffs - physical overwhelm, not alone, etc. Plus, money and sex appeal are the two great signs of power - so if someone's willing to have sex with you, you must be powerful! However, here's the rub (ha-ha): If you're having sex with someone who knows you well, they probably know the life circumstances that are making you feel powerless. Therefore, when trying to avoid reminders of your powerlessness, it's best to have sex with a stranger (or by yourself).
- •EAT FOODThis one's great because not only do you get distracted from your terror - but you also get a great sense of comfort; connection to personal history; aesthetic pleasure; everything. Unfortunately, eating can bring up its own feelings of powerlessness around weight and body-shame. So this strategy works best when food is consumed in a hurried, disconnected, almost zombie-like manner.
- •WORKPut everything into work. Excel, excel, excel. Progress is measurable: Am I making more money? Then I have more power. Big pitfall here is that other people at work are trying to get more money/ power, too. Find ways to stop them. Manipulation, gossip, passive-aggression. Gauge how hard everyone is working and then work harder. Never rest, never feel safe. And when work situations inevitably make you feel powerless, use other strategies on this list.
- •BE DESTRUCTIVEBreak things. Hurt people - emotionally or otherwise. "Act out." Make someone suffer, leave them with a mess to clean up. Go online and say nasty things about someone you consider your moral or intellectual inferior. It's all a great distraction from powerlessness (and a relief to know that even if someone is thinking about how much they hate you, at least they're thinking about you).
- •JUST SIT THERE, TAKE NO ACTION WHATSOEVER AND FEEL POWERLESSOh, boy. This one's tough. Because suddenly I'm SWAMPED by the fear. May lead to crying. And that's REALLY bad, because it's hard to look powerful while crying.
- •REACH OUT TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING AND HONESTLY EXPRESS THE FACT THAT I FEEL HOPELESS AND AFRAIDThis requires being willing to completely give up ANY pretense of mastery, superiority and power. A tough pill to swallow. The payoff: MASSIVE relief. And a shocking amount of support, help and understanding from my fellow human beings.
- •FOCUS ON ALL THE THINGS IN MY LIFE THAT I'M GRATEFUL FOR, AS OPPOSED TO THIS ONE, SINGLE THING THAT'S NOT GOING THE WAY I THINK IT SHOULDSuddenly puts the "powerless" feeling in perspective. No, I am not the absolute Master of the Universe whose every whim is obeyed. Life is still moving forward. Maybe I have more power than I think. Maybe things are going to be OK. Maybe I can even enjoy myself, and breathe, and feel peace. Maybe life is good.
- •WATCH OLD MOVIES/ LISTEN TO GOOD MUSIC/ TAKE A WALK/ PLAY WITH MY KIDSOh my God, life is great!