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Knowledge is power

By Joyce Alexander, RNP (retired)

If you are not willing to learn,
No one can help you.
If you are determined to learn,
No one can stop you.

A friend shared that saying with me today in an email and it made me think about what we say here at Lovefraud when we encourage a new poster to read and learn about psychopaths, to arm themselves with knowledge: “Knowledge is power.”

Knowledge is a powerful tool in our lives. If we have no education, we are powerless, as we see in people who have dropped out of school illiterate. We encourage our children to do the best they can in school, to go on to higher education, so that they are better prepared in life, have more power to determine their life course.

In dealing with a psychopath, our knowledge of them is important. It shows us what to expect out of them, and that we are not going to be able to help them. Our knowledge of the psychopaths shows us that we must take care of ourselves (and our children) first and not worry about trying to “fix” the psychopath. Our knowledge of the psychopaths shows us that the best way to defend ourselves is No Contact. Our knowledge shows us that No Contact protects us from further wounds and that each and every time we break this “contract with ourselves,” we are injured, wounded.

Learning about ourselves

The knowledge that gives us power, though, isn’t limited to knowledge about psychopaths. Our power-giving knowledge extends to learning about ourselves. I’ve often said here that, “It starts out learning about them, but ends up with us learning about ourselves.” The more I learn, the more I realize that what I have learned about psychopaths is small indeed compared to the huge amount I have learned about myself.

The learning about the psychopath encourages me to stay no contact and to realize that they are dangerous, but the learning about myself has encouraged me to change. The learning has encouraged me to learn what I need to know to keep myself safe from the next trolling psychopath looking for a vulnerable victim. It has also taught me how to set boundaries, and how important boundaries are for keeping me safe from anyonewho would use or abuse me in any way.

The knowledge I have gained has also made me take a long, hard look at my own “moral compass,” what I know to be right and what I know to be wrong. It has made me more determined to hold fast to keep myself on that “straight and narrow” path of the “do right” rule. If I am doing right, I know that I am doing okay. It makes me realize that the people I want in my “circle of intimacy” are also people who adhere to the “do right” rule and are honest, trustworthy and reliable. The Bible says that “evil companions corrupt good morals,” and this is right. If we are around people who do dishonest things, then those things become more “normalized,” and we tend to think, “ah, it’s not so bad, everyone does it.” So the people we associate with have a profound influence on our own moral compass. Just as I wouldn’t want my kids running around with or associating with “thugs,” I also need to be cautious of who I associate with.

I am worthy

Learning more about myself, and what I want out of life, has also taught me that I am worthy of being treated the way I want to be treated. I deserve to be treated well by those I associate with. I treat others well, but I will also expect that they will treat me well as well. I will not associate with those who treat me poorly.

I have also learned that I must treat myself as well as I expect others to treat me. This means that I stop doing things to my body that are likely to cause health problems: over eating, over drinking, use of nicotine or other drugs, lack of exercise, lack of sleep, lack of proper medical care. I will care for myself well—mentally, physically and spiritually.

Responsibilities

Meeting my responsibilities to myself is important, but meeting my responsibilities to others is also important. Seeing that my children are properly taken care of, and parented well, that my job is done well both at home and at my employment are important aspects of the life plan for myself. I will allot my available time in such a way that all my responsibilities are met in a timely manner, and that includes recreation and relaxation.

Another thing I have learned about myself is that, in the past, I tended to take on as “my responsibility” things that were actually not my responsibilities. I had been taught and believed from an early age that other people’s happiness was my responsibility. I have now learned that I am not responsible for others’ happiness. They are responsible for their own happiness. By not taking on things that are not my responsibility, I have more time for myself and those things I am responsible for.

In addition, I have learned that now that my kids are grown and my husband passed away, I am not responsible for providing room, board and shelter for anyone, no matter who they are. While I believe that it is my duty to share with others less fortunate than myself, it is not my responsibility to provide for those who are unwilling to provide for themselves. My hospitality to my friends and family is entirely voluntary on my part. When people come to my house, it is my house, my rules.

Taking back my power

Knowledge indeed is power. I have assumed my power. I’d like to think I have taken “back” my power, but I’m not sure I ever really knew I had it, or if I did, I sure didn’t use it when I didn’t take care of myself, and took on responsibilities for others that were not legitimately mine. I didn’t exercise my power when I allowed others to repeatedly use and abuse me.

Now that I know better, I am doing better. I am taking care of myself, allowing others to take responsibility for themselves, even if they fail. I am setting boundaries and eliminating the people in my life who do not share a complementary moral compass. My life is starting to be filled with joy and peace, love and laughter, because it is not weighted down with cares brought on by lack of knowledge or by failing to use that knowledge to take care of myself.

Learn and take hold of your power!



58 Comments on "Knowledge is power"

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  1. 20years says:

    Oxy, thanks. (thanks, Matt!). This makes absolute, complete sense. It is sinking in… in my BF’s case, he has all four of those things, but in either extremely minimal ways (HS Education and a year of college) or precariously unstable ways (odd jobs come and go, the car is old and sometimes needs an emergency repair and he doesn’t have money, he lives in a rented room).

    I think he used to have a safety net (couples can do this for each other to spread risk — two people working odd jobs, a backup car, two people paying rent or mortgage) and doesn’t any longer.

    And I cannot pick up the slack — I haven’t — and I’m not in a position to. Which I think has been in my favor so far because it has prevented my giving into early temptation to “help.” I can’t, and he knows I can’t. I can’t give him rides or money to fix his car or loan him my car. I can’t let him move in with me or help him with his rent money. I can’t get him a job (though I would if I had job leads).

    He is going to have to figure this out for himself. :( But it is hard for me to watch.

    All I have been able to do, which has not been difficult for me, is give him some food from time to time.

    I have known him a year. I guess I have been hoping he would improve his situation… that I would be seeing an up-trend, rather than this slow, downward spiral. And yes, I am emotionally invested at this point. That makes it harder. But is not preventing me from stepping back at this point to take inventory of the situation. (I don’t mean that in the callous way it may sound… I just think it is necessary to do periodic assessments).

  2. slimone says:

    20 years and All,

    I found love, and married, about 5 years post last spathectomy. My husband is a gentleman, a scholar, and an all around sweet man.

    I make 3 times what my husband makes. He lived with a friend, in a house she owned (helped her with her 5 acres). He had no savings to speak of. No retirement. He had a girlfriend who comitted suicide while they were together. It threw him into a pretty steep pit of despair for a few years, and changed the direction of his life.

    I knew him for a solid year, as ONLY a friend, before we decided to date and then marry.

    Doesn’t look so good ‘on paper’.

    Here’s some thoughts about my marriage and my husband:

    1. He works hard, everyday.
    2. He has never manipulated me.
    3. He has never solicited my pity.
    4. He doesn’t say he’ll do something, he just does it.
    5. He always follows through on his word.
    6. He is kind to me.
    7. He is realisitc, and is not a flatterer.
    8. He has excellent personal boundaries, and honors them.
    9. He pitches in, consistently, and without my having to notice or cajole.
    10. He is faithful.
    11. He takes his time, and is not rushed into action or decisions.
    12. He is thoughtful, not charming.
    13. I have never found out he was dishonest about something.
    14. He has experienced hardship and loss, but has used those things to forge new knowledge and strength of character.
    15. He never love bombed or seduced me. He did let me know how much he liked me, and liked being my friend.
    16. He has never become possesive or jealous.
    17. He has never asked me to bail him out of any mishap or financial problem.

    Gosh…he’s pretty great. But just to say, he didn’t ‘look’ so great. I had to get to know what a cool person he is before I could make a decision to get involved.

    20 years I hope this is some additional info. that may be useful to you…

    Slim

  3. Ox Drover says:

    Slim, great points too…there are always exceptions to every rule. LOL

    Thing thing about 20′s guy is his DIS-honesty about his financial situation with his kids….pretending to be something (to them) that he is not. I also wonder if the jam he is in financially is because he kept giving and giving to them pretending to have the money when he didn’t.

    20, I’m glad that you are keeping your financial distance…of course if you were to marry this man it is impossible to keep 100% distance if you are living together.

    After his retirement and me still working (My husband was 15 yrs older than me) I was sometimes making 90% of our “income” but he worked sporadically and in one 6 month period made enough to pay for our entire home here at the farm, free and clear after taxes. He had some skills that were very highly paid, but the work was sporadic. So in the end, we about “broke even” on who made what. But we worked together on what we spent and how. There were some disagreements from time to time on that but we worked them out.

    We also had a prenup to protect us from each other’s kids if that became an issue. It didn’t, as his kids like me better than they did their own mother, so I never had any problem with them. It never became an issue. At the same time, our home was built on the “family farm” which if I had died first would have been in a trust, but he would not have been “tossed off” his own home.

    Our friendship was 40+ years long, our marriage was 20, but we did look at the financial aspects of the union. At the time I married him he was retired, had some debts, worked sporadically, but was independent. I worked regularly but had two teenaged sons. I think we ended up doing it right! It worked. I’m still solvent.

  4. 20years says:

    Thanks, Slimone. You are right — he does sound pretty great. :) I am very happy for you.

    You do present a different viewpoint, which I appreciate. I sometimes think I don’t look so great on paper, either.

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