3 Steps from “Power Over” to Connection

3 Steps from “Power Over” to Connection

Step 1… The Ghosts of Power Over

Again it happened. Another meeting. At work. Wanting to speak up. Hesitating again. Been sidelined too many times before. Yearning to speak … yet not speaking.

Blaming them. Blaming herself.

Memories flooded.

At home, with dad. The shushing. The groping. The flood of shame. The silencing, the fear, more shaming. The consequences when others crossed him. The gotta-avoids. The fear it could happen again … and would happen again.

And it did.

She knew it wasn’t right … and she knew she couldn’t stop it.

She, after all, was just a kid.

He the family authority … the trusted provider. And did I say big? He was big. Given to anger. Anger she’d seen too many times before.

He had power over her. And …

… used it.

It haunted her then… and throughout her adulthood. Difficult decades. When would it unwind? Unfold? Stop?

Step 2 … The Unwinding

She’d thought the high-powered degree would change things. It didn’t.

Fighting for her clients would show the world, would show him. It changed things … for others.

Surely being recognized in her field would help. (Sadly, no.)

She’d hoped getting married would change things. It didn’t.

Maybe a baby would help? (Baby was wonderful, complicating and, unexpected to her raised her fears, concerns.)


…wanted her own change for her (& needed it)
…thought fighting the fear would change things. It didn’t.
…worried she couldn’t find it.

Dispair began to set in. Misery. Hopelessness. And yet…

Step 3 … “I think I need help” means you’re ready

         “I need help now” means now

When you’re ready for the help you need, you’ll…

… notice it.

Something will waft across your screen, show up in your mail, be mentioned by a friend.

It’s your turning point. Everyone has one (sometimes more).

She noticed. We connected. Conversation ensued … she shared her story, how it stopped her. Got in her way.

If you’re breathing (and I hope you are!), you very likely have a story or three. Or thirty… you’re normal!

For me, my turning point was on on Hwy 121, just north of Dallas. I was driving home from work … into the emotional buzzsaw that was generously provided, by my husband. I loved the guy, but he wasn’t easy to live with. The needling and triangulating were confusing. After all, we were doing what we’d each said we wanted.

I just wasn’t turning out ok. And again that day, on Hwy 121, just north of Dallas, I was losing the feeling in my fingers. With each mile driven, that loss crept to my hands, my wrists … my forearms.

By the time I got home I couldn’t feel my arms. It was a miracle I’d made it. That day.

I’d faced it thousands of evenings before. I badly wanted a happy marriage. Financially we were fine. Nice house. Two healthy kids. Good standing in our church. In our community. From the outside, we looked like a lovely family.

Inside, the pain was palpable.

That “this isn’t working” feeling and smack right up against the cost of  change. To anyone. Home. Work. Socially.

So how to know when it’s time for a change?

In part, that’s what she was asking. A combination of “Can I fix this?” (prolly not) … knowing that “Can we fix this?” is the better question. Give it an honest effort — and know your timeframe. Months are fine (not years) — whether it’s personal or work or event social.

When you’re ready for the help you need …. when it shows up, you’ll notice the help you need.

Often it’s been there all along (so CELEBRATE you noticed it)?

In the early 2000’s, it showed up for me in the U.S. Mail … and for most of us these days, it’s something internet-ish. Maybe a Podcast to Instagram, LinkedIn and beyond.

My advice? Whatever’s a fit for you GRAB IT. Take ACTION.


  • Go when the wave is with you??‍♂️
  • Rest into it for a bit & see, feel, hear … if it feeds your soul, it’s a likely fit
  • Whatever you choose, start small & go all in with it .. time is the one thing you cannot get back

Grab it.

She did, and after while came the conversation that showed fear was gone. She, at work, spoke up as one of them. She spoke as part of a trusted team. Her fear was gone, she allowed herself to be and equal & speak as an equal. She spoke their language, using her voice. They heard her as one of them — a team player on the field of play.

At work, collaboration became more and more doable. More & more, her ideas were appreciated. Some won the day. Others became part of new solutions. And of course, some ideas don’t stand the test of scrutiny. She was fine with that — her “shots on goal” stats were good.

So What Changed?

Gently, gently, she got in touch with those scary stories, we transformed how she held them in her heart, body and soul. We celebrated that she’d made it through. She “grew up” that scared kid part of her. It’s now big too — an adult

…. an adult fully capable of putting a stop to what had gone on then … and more recently. With others.

Would you guess that was her turning point? It was.

And if you’re a human on planet earth … you have either benefitted from such turning points, or can.

So that in YOUR time. In YOUR place. The confidence you’ve long for … the change you need, you seek, you yearn to have … around people who seem scary … but you can’t quite put your finger on it (or maybe you can but don’t know what to do about it) …

.. just know that you can be your adult self around them.

I’m here for you,
Dorothy “to thrive, be you” Kuhn

PS … Something’s on Your Heart? Let’s Chat.


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