We see the misuse and abuse of power all around us –
in politics and government, in business and the economy, in religious organizations, in institutions of education and elsewhere…
including close at home in social groups, neighborhoods, and families.
We either blame power itself –
as in the quotation,
“Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,”
or we blame the person for being brutal, mentally ill, evil…
or we blame ourselves but don’t yet know what it is in ourselves that’s responsible, that we can discover, work with, and heal.
The deepest truth about power is often, perhaps almost always,
either not known, overlooked, or willfully not wanted to be known.
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In essence, the misuse and abuse of power begins within each of us,
with our own relationship with power.
With how our relationship with power came to be –
from the relationship with power each of our parents had,
and their parents before them,
and theirs before them;
from how individual relationships with power affect cultural
relationships with power
and the other way around.
If we look around our world today, we can see the vicious cycle of
wounded relationships with power.
The wake-up calls surround us.
We all have wounds within our psyches and souls.
We all have wounds to our relationship with power.
We all need to heal our relationship with power from the inside out…
for our sakes and for the sake of our world.
Healing is a lifelong journey,
yet as we travel that sometimes rocky,
sometimes painful healing road,
we can begin to feel amazing, miraculous changes within –
both subtle and obvious.
As we truly heal our relationship with power more and more deeply,
we begin to have the ability, clarity, wisdom, and heart to help create
sustainable change not only in our own lives, but also in our world.
We may find ourselves devoting less and less of our power,
energy and our resources to defending against the pain of our
and instead become able to use that power, energy and those
resources for truly magnificent good –
not only for ourselves, but also for those around us.
We can step by step come to trust ourselves more fully and deeply,
knowing when we’re trustworthy and when we’re not; and
knowing also when others are trustworthy and when they’re not.
It is my vision that this healing, each one of us at a time,
will expand into our world,
touching each and every person, being, and part of our earth.
Imagine what our world would be like if everyone of us did the inner
work to heal our wounding!
Tap into your deep integrity, your longing for healing,
your longing for real self-responsibility,
and your longing for Truth and Love … and take the necessary steps to explore, discover,
and heal your wounded relationship with power.
This is the hope – individually and communally.
My hope is that Power Abused, Power Healed will help you in your
With hope and blessings …
An in depth look at Power Abused, Power Healed
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Using Hans Andersen’s fairy tale about the emperor whose vanity lands him naked on parade, Judith Barr explores the stories of many kinds of power. While her accounts are mainly focused on power abuse in families and the helping professions, we know only too well how the same dynamics surround us. In politics, in the corporate world, in church institutions, even in our news sources, we can see many forms of abuse that distort reality, silence questioning, crush empathy, and build empires based on greed, power, and righteous self-aggrandizement.
Because Judith Barr’s parables are enjoyable and deceptively simple, they help to raise consciousness in non-threatening ways. They creep under our defenses to wake us up. Thus they can be used by parents, family therapists, pastoral counselors, and group leaders in their work. They can also be used for self-reflection, for it is not hard to find aspects of ourselves mirrored in them.
I would also like to see this book [Power Abused, Power Healed] as mandatory reading for politicians and CEOs. Everyone claiming authority needs to know the dire consequences to self and to others of the power shadow. When we are not aware, we may find ourselves parading our grandeur and goodness as foolishly as the naked emperor, or as cruelly as any tyrant.
SYLVIA BRINTON PERERA
Jungian analyst, author of "Descent to the Goddess: A Way of Initiation for Women"
[Regarding Power Abused, Power Healed] This is the best book on power and its abuse by therapists and spiritual leaders since Guggenbuhl-Craig's trenchant Power in the Helping Professions. Anyone whose therapy or discipleship has gone rotten through no fault of their own will find wisdom and comfort here. It should be required reading for all therapists and healers in training.