The Abuse of Power

In Creating Happiness, Recent Posts by Barbara Jacoby

When most people hear the words “abuse of power”, thoughts drift toward those who are in charge of running countries, mostly because these are the situations that are most visible in the press.  We hear about how kings build great wealth and enjoy all of the best things in life while their people are starving and dying in the streets.  We hear about how our own legislators get their colleagues to pass legislation that favors their constituencies in return for favors and at the expense of all of us.  However, most don’t realize that this phenomenon occurs every day at every level of a person’s life and how we choose to deal with it will shape our lives in ways that we could never imagine. 

It is always your choice to make a happier life for yourself and for those who cannot help themselves.  You deserve it and so does every person that you know. 

As children, the experience can begin with abusive parents and/or bullying.  As we get older, it can be seen in the relationships at school where the “popular” group looks down on and/or demeans those who are not part of that “in” crowd.  Within the teen experience, it can also be seen in the control that one person in a relationship has over the other person.  As adults, it is often seen within a marriage and has become very prevalent in the work place.  So what can we do? 

That is the tough part.  If you challenge a power abuser, the repercussions can be extremely detrimental.  You may be physically abused, mentally abused, ostracized, fired from your job, and in some extreme cases, lose your life or any sorts of variations in between.  For those who have been taught that power means running the show in whatever way they wish, this is life and if you can’t take it, then just get out of the way.  In the workplace, it means that power abusers will hire their friends first before anyone else who may be more qualified.  It means that promotions and special privileges will be awarded to their favorites even if others are much more experienced and/or qualified.  The boss is the boss in this mentality and that is all that matters. 

For those who do not subscribe to this mentality, the obvious answer is to get out of the situation.  Very often, this is not an immediate option.  For the children, we must try to do anything and everything possible that we can to help them because they cannot help themselves.  If the abuse is at home, report it to the authorities.  If it is occurring at school, report it to the administration.  If it is occurring in public areas, report it to the parents of the abusing children and then to the authorities, if necessary.  Keep an eye on all kids at all ages and note any changes in their personality and/or behavior and talk to them.  Find out what is going on and deal with it accordingly. 

If the abuse of power is in your home, it is logical that you will try to resolve it but if you are unable to do so, seek assistance, make a plan and get everyone away from the power monger.  If it is going on at your workplace, make a decision to change your circumstances and go to work on your plan until you can find new employment.  Often it is difficult to stick it out on the job and do your best in the interim but in the end, when you go to bed each night, you have only yourself to whom you must answer and you will know what you have done even if no one else knows or someone else chooses to take credit for it.  And most importantly, you need to know that no organization that is being run by a power abuser will succeed in the long run.  Sooner or later, that business or home or school administration will crumble and you will be happy that you made your own changes with regard to your life before that happens.  You don’t have to live with a power abuser in your life.  It is always your choice to make a happier life for yourself and for those who cannot help themselves.  You deserve it and so does every person that you know.