There is nothing worse than feeling powerless.

Mothers always believe they have the power to make things okay for their children. If they scrape a knee, you know how to make it better. If they have a fever, you know how to lower it. If it’s something worse, you know how to go to the emergency room. If they hate a teacher, you arrange a meeting.   If someone steals their bike, you get it back. Whatever the problem is, you solve it.

If your child jumps of a cliff, you vow to make sure he’ll survive. If he’s not breathing, you still believe you can blow life into his lungs and bring him back.

Then, you keep pretending you have the power to punish the negligent or to force an apology or to find a grief group or to sleep soundly, or to hang on to your friends, or to get anything done that needs doing. But you are powerless.

Then after six months you ask the ex-husband if you can have some of your child’s belongings from before he got hurt but the ex says No, sorry.   BUT, you say to him, but this but that, but I’m the Mother! No, he’s not ready because he’s too busy because he doesn’t trust you and   anyway he’s going away for Christmas, just No. Sorry, but no, he simply can’t.   He’ll “look through” the stuff but not now and not with you.

A hundred years ago, I married a rigid controlling person who was wrong for me in every way except for the fact of our beautful son, and now I am powerless against his need to say no to me.

This is why I could never accomplish Step One. I can’t accept that I have no power, even when it’s so painfully and irrevocably obvious.

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37 Responses to Powerless

  1. Green Of Eye says:

    You’re on the same coast: far away geographically but close in my thoughts.

    You say you are powerless but as a long time reader, i don’t agree.
    You have undergone some life altering events and on top of these, you have lost your son.You may not see your inner light but we do.
    Sending much love.

    For some reason when i listen to this i imagine you

  2. Aja says:

    I think many of us struggle with accepting that we have no control over anything on this earth (I for one do). I cannot imagine the immense pain of struggling with this during such terrible grief. I keep my fingers crossed for you every day that today will be a good day.

  3. Another old biddy says:

    I cannot even begin to fathom this living hell that you are enduring but I have nothing but empathy for you. I, too, was married to a rigid, controlling person. He has custody of my children and I’ve had no contact with them for the past 7 years.

  4. Hammie says:

    But your power is to express. That power will prevail. We will sit by you and wait. Xxooxx

  5. Janet says:

    Joanne, sending you much love during this terrible time. My son Max asks often how you are doing. xoxoxo. Janet

  6. Jane Schott says:

    I’m with Hammie on this situation.

  7. I agree with Hammie, keep asking and keep telling. The power will win out. Don’t think of him as controlling (this gives him power) mere impolite and rude (this gives you power). Re-frame your view of what he is doing. Think of him not being able to bear to part with one single item, approach it from that angle.

    We are with you xoxox

  8. Cricket9 says:

    SW, I’m with Hammie too. Don’t give up.

  9. Juli says:

    Sorry Sister. Hopefully that jerk will come around sooner than later.

  10. theresa says:

    break into his house?

  11. dust says:

    In many dark moments during the last months, I didn’t jump because I see how much it hurts the people that are left behind. I have nothing smart to add to the comments above, only thank people that always manage to pull me out, even if they are not aware of it. When they say “we are with you”, I feel they are with me as well.
    Before I melt into emotional puddle, Make do has a point.
    Don’t forget that if you would have had the power, you would give it away, you are way to generous.
    All my love, as ever.

  12. Ann says:

    I second everyone’s comments on here, and I love you. Here for you always. XO

  13. OMGGMAB says:

    You already have the best thing you could have from your son. The memories of your loving relationship, the bonds that only mother and child can share. Hold him in your heart and let all the good things from your lives envelope you. Gather strength from this. Perhaps the other has only physical objects. You have so much more. I send you my best thoughts and wishes.

  14. Hallie says:

    I would bust into his house and take your son’s things. Sorry, that’s just the way I feel. I know anger and resentment do not help in the healing process, but I don’t know if I could feel any other way if I lost my son. Much love to you, Sister … my heart and prayers are with you during what is surely a particularly unbearable, painful time for you.

  15. E says:

    Sister W – you have the terrible power of love.
    He has the emptiness of control over what?
    Make Do and Hammie said it best – thinking of you xx

  16. CocoRosa says:

    indeed there is no suffering worse than the feeling of powerlessness. it’s surprising how cruel people can be. my heart is with you sister wolf, hang on.

  17. Kittenpie says:

    You needn’t accept it, only admit it. Doesn’t mean you think it’s fair, or acceptable. In my own situations, first part of the first step was admitting my life was unmanageable. The rest followed when I was ready, not a moment sooner or later. I hope you stay strong as you can, Sister Wolf.

  18. Consuela says:

    Dear Miss Sister Wolf,

    In the words of Mr Churchill, when you are going through hell, just keep going.

  19. Nickie Frye says:

    Try not to heap anger towards your ex on top of everything else. It will only make you feel worse. Try praying for him. Seriously. Praying for your enemies always works in time. Pray with your words & your heart will eventually follow. Forget control. It’s an empty dream. None of us have it. I’m sorry you’re going through this. As a mom, my heart breaks for you. Some things are beyond our understanding.

  20. sparklywizardsleeve says:

    Just rolled onto your blog via partypants; you are awesome. my father was controlling and rigid but time revealed the truth and i’m extremely close to my mother and refuse to see my father for all the pain he inflicted. Keep writing and keep everything you’ve written.

  21. sparklywizardsleeve says:

    Ugh, just read more of your blog, i had no idea what you are going through, jesus, my heart aches for you, sorry for the stupid comment above.

  22. am sorry sister wolf…..

    am going to be a mother any day now, so am clueless in everything. am happy we’re finally going to have a baby but got to admit am scared too.

  23. alittlelux says:

    i agree with what hammie said… but also, hallie. a little attempted robbery never hurt anyone, right?

  24. Jaimi says:

    This is absolutely heartbreaking. I’m sending hugs and love your way. Stay strong.

  25. This is so awful. I’m so sorry.

    I don’t know if it helps any, but sometimes people need to be alone in their grief, stubbornly, and perversely, and even selfishly, without being willing to acknowledge that other people are grieving, too. Maybe that’s what’s happening here. It’s not fair, but it’s not your fault.

    Thinking of you over the next few weeks.

  26. dust – we are with you too! x

  27. Witch Moma says:

    SW, you, more than anyone I know, have the power of expression.
    Poignant & beautiful. Keep exercising it.

    Re the controller; Does he have a Mother/Sister/Partner who would be more willing to work with you?

    Sending you peace & love.

  28. dust says:

    you are xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  29. Esme Green says:

    I’ve been thinking of something to say. And I can’t find any words that don’t sound trite or cliche. I think Hammie said it best. I love your words. I look forward to reading them everyday.

    You carried your son in your womb and now you carry him in your heart. And all these wonderful people here will try to carry you as long as you want us to.


  30. Babsalicious says:

    Screaming helps. In a pillow, in the wind, in the bath, in a car, down the phone at the ex….a big scream to let it out.

    I am sorry you lost your son. I hope you find him again somewhere and can tuck him somehow safe and close, so you do not feel without him.

    Sending love and the hope you are able to lean on something firm to get through this time now.

  31. Carrie says:

    I’m with Hammie and Witch Moma…we’re all here in witness to some pretty fucking awesome power of expression every day. Not to mention standing by in support and holding you up with our hearts in all their various states of (dis)repair…

    Also, though I want to rush in with Hallie, I’m thinking maybe Witch Moma’s suggestion is a good next escalation strategy? Alternate route of some kind?

  32. rosy hues says:

    hang in there, sister wolf…

  33. BethUK says:

    How awful. Underneath all that contol he is far weaker than you will ever be. You are not powerless, you have strength and patience in abundance and you will get there.

  34. Liz says:

    He’s an ass, probably forever. His being an ass does not change that you are Max’s mom, forever. I am praying for you, that you have rest and healing.

  35. candy says:

    Sister Wolf, only you know how much your son’s belongings are important to you. I think you need his things to grief. I think the man that does that to you, will know how much he hurt you but later. Usually, we don’t know the pain we inflict to others only when we pass away; then we realise how wrong we were and the soul cries, the only way to make it up to the person is to come back to feel the same way. Sister, know that you are a strong person, us women are strong! we go through so much… I also think you have great people here that love you and demonstrate it every time you are hurt.
    by the way, english is not my first language, so I apologize for the errors.

  36. drollgirl says:

    this is bogus. i want to FIX this problem for you. grrrrr.

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