Personhood, Power, and Agency

I am tripping over myself to communicate the concepts that are simultaneous vaccinations for victimization and integral agents for recovery from abuse.

I strain to raise not only your consciousness — but also my own.

Abuse obliterates agency — which I have come to consider as a self powered personhood. A person who can author her path, taking into consideration what choices, potentialities, powers, and resources she has internally and externally. Abuse shuts down authorship of the self and is stolen by someone else.

Abuse dehumanizes.
It strips dignity.
It overwhelms with atrocity.
It disconnects;
it fragments;
it silences;
it separates;
it alienates;
it isolates;
and most of all it is a diabolical act of DISEMPOWERMENT.

To be a human is to have, to hold, and to handle a measure of power.
Remember abuse dehumanizes and disempowers.


Personal agency can be thought of as the ability to act on behalf of your own personhood with power.

The power to choose.
The power to consent.
The power to discuss.
The power to dissent.
The power to decline.
The power to define.
The power to defy.
The power to assent.
The power to affect.
The power to be.
The power to become.
The power to know.
The power to name.
The power period.

For the abused, agency is the restoration of personhood in concert with an emergent personal, interpersonal, and political power. It’s a broad and encompassing concept that is woven in with free will and liberation. When agency is restored, you will experience true self knowledge and appraisal of your strengths, weaknesses, vulnerability, and power. As a result, you become and agent of your own, and eventually others, change.

“The first principle of recovery is the empowerment of the survivor. She must be the author and arbiter of her own recovery. Others may offer advice, support, assistance, affection, and care, but not cure.” – Judith Herman M.D.

Indeed, she must.

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