Possession is more common than is sometimes recognised and occurs with varying degrees of subtlety. It is based on desire and covetousness. With or without acknowledging it, one feels ‘I want…’ about a person or item. It is negative but an inherent part of our psychology; we are competitive to varying degrees and you will notice an impulse to take what belongs to another at times. You shall also find yourself or your own belongings the target of such intentions.
Possession often features in abusive relationships and it is extremely uncomfortable to endure – the victim can be mentally or socially controlled while the perpetrator feeds off their fear and suffering. And it is a key element in sexual harassment. Sensitive people and those who struggle to say ‘no’ to the advances of others or set boundaries seem to endure it more than most. A strategy for responding to this problematic tendency is needed!
Firstly, be aware that possession exists and learn to identify it: watch for the attitude of ‘That will be mine.’ or ‘This is mine and I refuse to allow another ownership of it.’ Consider the positive and negative aspects of the trait – seeking and retaining ownership of vital resources, including a home to live in, does help you survive and live well. However, there is an accompanying mentality which can lead to social strife – aggression and a willingness to attack others are never far behind.
The characteristic becomes more problematic when it occurs in domineering, non-cooperative interactions, including domestic violence. It is checked and lessened through opposition to the intention of the perpetrator. One must refuse to comply if it is safe to do so. This refusal can be indirect; if you are a victim, your first step is to think differently. Focus on freedom and independence when you can, even if this is done in secret at first. Consider what it means to value your liberty then stand your ground, contradict another and fight to defend yourself. Attitude shapes behaviour, so you need to cultivate a belief you can break away and perseverance. Keep resisting until the aggressor gives up and withdraws. If you can think:
‘My mind and body are my own.’
And it feels true, you are almost free.