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I have super powers. I was taught them early in life. I can walk into a room and sense how people are feeling. I can tell if there has been an argument or if there is peace. I have honed my skills to be able to respond and “perform” according to what I think others need: a clown, an organizer, a quiet mouse, a valiant protector. I used these skills to keep myself safe, to find control in an ever-changing landscape in a dysfunctional home. I used these skills to find some measure of security by matching my insides to other people’s outsides so, at least, it looked like we were getting along.

As a child I was (mostly) very well behaved, and tried to be pleasing to the adults, helpful to the max; taking care of the other kids, running errands, cleaning up. I took responsibility, at a gut level, for the behavior of others and tried to make up for their shortcomings. Putting aside my own fears and insecurities I took care of my sick mom by taking her duties and responsibilities. I put on my cape and “did what had to be done.”

After leaving home I found other people who would appreciate my super powers (if they had known I had them. One aspect of these powers is that, if done well, no one knows you are using them.) I would be conciliatory when my boyfriend had had a bad day, blame myself for errors and issues around the house so that he could yell at me and get his aggression out in a “controlled” way, maybe leaving the kids alone. I would choose to do what my friends wanted to do, preferring their ideas over discovering my own. I had done this for so long I had no idea what my desires and preferences were. I didn’t feel safe expressing them when I did.

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Let me be clear, here, everyone has these abilities to a greater or lesser degree. We have to know how to behave in church, and that may be different than how we behave at a sports game, or at a family gathering. We do match our behavior to our situation or circumstance. That is appropriate. What I am talking about here is the total chameleon effect of changing and adapting to what I BELIEVE the circumstance requires to the expense of honoring myself or revealing myself in any way.

Then came the day that I embraced RECOVERY. I become abstinent from alcohol and drugs. My skin peels off and my nerves are raw. Unprotected by alcohol and drugs my super powers of feeling and sensing others becomes incredibly painful. Feeling and sensing my own emotions nearly puts me over the edge. This was amazingly confusing time for me. I was opening up to life, REAL life, not life experienced through a haze. I felt that my super powers would kill me.

On one hand feeling out what others were experiencing was a way to keep myself safe. This ability turned inward made me feel unsafe. When I was responding to what I imagined others felt or needed I was adapting to what I thought would be a safer relationship. However doing so without thought or consideration meant that I was overstepping my own boundaries. I had grown so used to dancing in sync to another’s song that I was lost finding my own melody.

The challenge was to find out what I needed, wanted, preferred, desired. I had to disengage from others, to cease assuming and expecting, to let go of managing outcomes for others and looking at taking care of and for myself. It felt selfish, it felt greedy but it was the right thing to do; to stay on my side of the street.

It took me years to don my cape only for “good” and not for protection. Rather than using my super power to manage other people and their reactions to life, I now use this tool as it was meant to be used: in empathy, with sympathy and compassion. I have learned, and seldom backslide, to use my sensitivities to listen with an open heart rather than to “fix, manage, advise or control”.  I now honor my super powers, now that I have learned to use them wisely.


Kyczy Hawk; author and E-RYT 500 Kyczy has been teaching recovery focused yoga classes since 2008. She is also an author having published several books combining the philosophy of yoga with recovery principles. Her most recent books are “Yogic Tools For Recovery; A Guide To Working The Steps” and its companion workbook. She is also the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path” , “Life in Bite-Sized Morsels” , and “From Burnout to Balance” as well as five recovery oriented word puzzle books.You can also join Kyczy and a host of other people in recovery every Sunday morning at 8am PT (11 am ET) on In The Rooms at the Yoga Recovery meeting. She currently holds online Y12SR meetings combining a full 45 minutes of all paths recovery meeting and 45 minutes of all levels yoga.It meets Sundays 4pm PDT (register at .) Kyczy is very proud of her family; husband, kids, and grandkids, all who amaze her in unique and wonderful ways. Join her mailing list for other information and links to free classes at


  1. Wow – this is excellent. This describes almost perfectly what my journey has/had been – my plight and purpose. Thank you for sharing.

    • You are most welcome. I don’t feel so alone when you share that you have been plagued by this as well. Take care

  2. Kathleen Russell Reply

    Thank you for sharing Kyczy. What an incredible way of expressing your instincts and being in tune with others. I had to watch and witnesses what was so much bigger than I. All the earliest days of life.
    Unaware of creating a false sence of myself with no other direction, was all based in fear.
    In recovery this intuition has come to a new enlightenment and the skills learned to know in my heart where I leave off and others begin.
    Love and Hugs to you!

    • Kathleen- it IS a course of “watching and listening” and then of finding one’s own true direction. Thank you for reading! be well

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