More Relationship Busters: Power Struggles


Partnership is when two people are on the same ship, rowing in the same direction, for mutual benefit.

When getting what we want is threatened it’s easy to start rowing hard in our own direction, rowing against each other. A power struggle often develops. I’d say it is always there beneath the surface unless and until…. What is the resolution?

First, identify power struggles. Lots of arguments. Who did what to whom, or did not do what was expected, Keeping score of the same. Unless one or both parties struggles in silence, then there is resentment, manipulations, passive aggression, withholding and sabotaging. Love is withheld and eventually believed to be gone.

And it’s ultimately still all happening when needs aren’t met (see blog) and agreements aren’t kept (see blog), these power struggles break out in desperate and less effective attempts to get what we need. When we go into reactive survival mode, the all-for-one spirit of partnership is lost and becomes us-versus-them. The I, Me, Mine mandate of the ego wins out. This is why relationships are great spiritual teachers, an opportunity to test both personal empowerment and its compliment, surrender.

What are the underlying personal development lessons?  I’ll discuss the two I see most often.

Not understanding and therefore trusting one’s own power, the ability – and responsibility – we all have to take care of ourselves, to do what we can to handle any situation as well as possible. We are all born self-contained units with our own version of capability to succeed. Not knowing or using this will leave us lacking or hurting; then we struggle. Just as abundant energy can have you climb a hill with ease, with power realized and utilized one doesn’t struggle. (Come back to Trust.)

The other side of this coin is your relationship to the power of your partner. It need not matter who has more – which is the constant fight in a power struggle. The underlying doubt and fear is, “Will they use their power for me or against me?” I am in partnership to benefit from their strength, I come to depend on that, I need to know I am safe and loved. But we have different ways and different wants sometimes. Other times they are distant, preoccupied, busy, stressed and seem to be looking out only for their interests. I lose trust in them and figure I better do them same now that I am on my own.

What’s the thought/ principal/ consciousness by which I  can feel safe and relax, get back from competition to cooperation? This is for you to answer, but will offer a suggestion, a place to look. And that is Trust

My suggestion does not resolve these issues for you. You must find your way to that trust of self, trust in another person, and in the way people and the Universe work. But it is a great quest, one I believe we are all on and working out in our closest relationships.

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