The power struggle

Power struggles in relationships are partially rooted in our past. If we experienced control while growing up, we want to control our relationship. If we didn’t receive enough love, we want to control our partner’s love for us. It is all about getting our needs met. Yet our partners have no idea that they are expected to compensate for what we missed earlier in life.

Controlling people try to remake the world in their own image, starting with you. They think they know better and don’t acknowledge your equality. They haven’t learned the equality of relationships, the right of every person is to express himself/herself freely without penalty.

When an argument stops being about finding an objective solution and starts being about who is more entitled to be ‘right’ that becomes the breakdown.  Once the argument escalates past the issue, then someone needs to recognize the power struggle. The first thing that will happen is the discussion turns very emotional.  Be prepared to walk away from an argument for a while, even if you are convinced you’re absolutely right.  There’s too much of a risk your partner will intensify the argument to the point of no return.  People who need to win arguments as a rule will often bring the original argument to a halt, and then bring in other issues guaranteed to cause an emotional reaction.  It’s no longer about the issue at hand- it’s about the power struggle.

Everyone should want their needs met in a relationship.  You also have to be realistic and understand that there is no way that you are going to get 100% in any relationship.  That’s just a fact of life.  Relationships are designed to make us better.  We should be able to feed off of each other’s energy.  So honestly if you have a relationship where you are controlling every aspect of it how is that making you a better person?

One of the biggest problems in a relationship is most people refuse to meet the needs of their partner because ALL of their needs or wants are not meet.  People do not look at the overallpicture of what the other person is bringing to the relationship.  You have to realize in yourself that there are things that you have to except.  If you are looking for someone to make you happy 24/7, you need to go live in fairy tale land because this is not realistic.

People need to understand the difference between their wants and needs in a relationship.  Wants usually are the Achilles heel of a relationship.  This is driven by thoughts and unmet needs.

I think that people do recognize the power struggles in relationship in the beginning and sometimes will tend to let the other person have the upper hand in the relationship.  Instead of expressing yourself in the beginning and saying hey this relationship is lacking equality we let the person continue to be superior and have their way.  Once you continue to let this happen people get use to it.  Now changing the situation is going to be hard.  For example you have been eating lunch for the past year at 1230 and now your co worker tells you that hey I know you been eating at 12:30 everyday but I am going to start eating at 12:30 each day so you either got to go at 11:30 or 1:30.  How are you going to feel about that?  You body is use to eating at 12:30.  You are going to be like no you go around me I am not changing.  This is what happens in that type of relationship.  It has been working for them so why change?  You have dealt with it this long.  It is not my problem it is yours.

Power struggles in relationships are going to happen.  We are human.  We all want to maintain our Identity.  If you see signs of a power struggle in a relationship, before you get to emotionally involved make sure you point them out respectfully.  Some people learn to compromise if they really treasure the relationship, but you also have to understand that most people do not change their desire for control over every aspect of their life.

The Counsel

38 thoughts on “The power struggle

  1. Sometimes power struggles in relationships are signs of something deeper than just the need to be right. More often than not its about the need to be heard and the need to feel important. Like my partner listens to me and he/she cares that I’m upset and wants to make me happy. Using a poker reference – u have to know when to hold and when to fold. Usually if your partner is the one to bring the issue to u then they probably feel passionately enough about the issue for u to at least acknowledge their concerns and try to come to some kind of resolution that is mutually acceptable to the both of u. And vice versa they should do the same for u. When that stops happening that’s when the power struggle begins.

    1. People have to understand that each other are human and has feeling. When people are upset they can say some mean and hateful things. You can expect someone to always be able to calm you down they to busy trying to control there emotions. Best thing to do is back up for a second and get control of your emotions and talk it out. Remember this is a person that cares about you they are not trying to hurt you.

      1. There is a reason why opposites attract. When one partner is upset the other needs to be calm. When one partner is weak the other should be strong. When one is sad the other should try to cheer him up. In the words of Dr. King, you can’t fight darkness with darkness or hate with hate, only light can cure darkness and only love can counter hate. One Partner needs to be the yin to the others yang. So when u see ur partner getting upset calm him or her down. When they are sad be a ray of sunshine. Don’t get mad at ur partner just because they are mad at u. Try to listen to why they are mad and then work to change it.

        1. That is in a perfect world. What you saying is very true. I raise the question what happens when you both are upset? You both are sad? You both are weak? Who bites the bullet? Sometimes you have to look in yourself and say is this worth the trouble. You can not expect someone to always bite the bullet when you are upset. That is not logical. Unless you get upset once every 6 months or so then it would be. You have to try to learn your partner. There has to be open communication. Another thing I say is how is the communication when people feel the only time you are talking is when you are sad, upset, or weak that is not good. Communication should always be open and flowing when you have healthy conversation that really helps take the relationships to another level. A relationship is compromise and hard work. You have to love the person even when they do not deserve it. That is a hard thing to do. Once people realize you do whats best for the relationship and not just yourself you will see a better partner. If you do not see a change then it is time to move on. I think we get so caught up in today’s society of what we see around us. We want that 40 year marriage but we dont know the hard work that was put in it. LivLoveLaughCompromise life should get sweeter.

          Counselor Kathy

  2. Compromising is the key to promoting healthy relationships. There has to be give and take between two individuals. Both people have to lose the mentality of “my way or the high way”. Even with a compromising attitude, the arguments will still arise as they do in any normal relationship. Once an disagreement arise, It is important to openly express yourself. However, it is equally important to have the ability to communicate one’s thoughts clearly and in a less threatening way. When most individuals think of communication, they may instantly think of communicating one’s point of view. Keep in mind, listening is also a part of the communication process. Theoritically, listening is when someone openly allows an individual to express one’s thoughts or ideas. However, sometimes the message is intercepted by barriers when the recipient of the message is too busy thinking of a comeback in one’s mine or not allowing the speaker to finish his or her thought. Therefore, active listening is the key. This will constitute the true ability to “talk it out”; versus merely raising one’s voice or trying to prove who is right or wrong which usually does not accomplish anything. After each argument or dispute, it is okay for individuals to agree to disagree because people are entitled to an opinion. However, emotions accompany these opinion sometimes which led to mean and hateful things being said sometimes. Why? Because emotions can lead to unpredictability in regards to responses and actions.
    In addition to the power struggle, there is a psychological struggle as well. Therefore, people should be critically conscious that everyone has different experiences that have led them to their beliefs which intern motivate their actions. The more you understand people’s mental state, it may allow you to understand certain expressed thoughts are feelings in a relationship overall.
    Relationships will never be easy. It will always to work and hard effort. The most important thing is for two individuals to have the mindset of always looking to grow mentally and to equally accept that there will be imperfections within the relationship.

  3. @Kenny
    This is very thought provoking. The active listening aspect is often forgotten in communication. And as you said compromising is a vital key to relationships, especially romantic relationships. Although not always feasible; one should fully analyze for themselves, what they can and can not compromise before putting themselves in a “compromising” relationship. When what one partner wants is what the other partner wants, power struggles should at least become minimum, if not disappearing all together.

    1. Listen! Listen! Listen! Compromise! Compromise! My father told me that the only reason that his relationship was great because he and my mother had open communication. They talked about everything. He said it was not always like that. He said he being a man did not talk about things much and she seem to always complain about things. He said she he doesnt know what happen or who she talked to but her entire approach changed. He felt like they only talked about problems they never talked about life and just the regular things. He said she stopped complaining so much and start changing which sparked a change in him. The relationship went from him thinking about ending it to him realizing that this was the woman for him. 40 years later they are sitting on the porch enjoying each others company. Compromise and listening no matter what realize that sometimes you have to bit the bullet even when you are right. A good partner will realize when they are wrong even if it is not right then.

  4. I think this article touched on something that individuals fail to comprehend. The purpose of a relationship is to make each other better. If they aren’t achieving that goal for you, you shouldn’t pursue them. Now lets say you find out through the relationship this person is no longer pushing you to become better, which by the way is subjective, you then need to begin to search within. You search within to make sure that’s the real issue. If it is, the lines of communication must be open for you to have a “heart to heart”.

    Now, how does one make you better? They can make you better by helping you find something in yourself that you may not have known existed. They can help you achieve your goals. They can truly compliment your being. Though the Power Struggle exist, it shouldn’t. As one of the earlier posts stated, “you must know when to hold them, and when to fold them.”

    1. So you are saying if it is to much of a struggle to bounce? How do you think you recognize this in the honeymoon stages of a relationship?

      1. Not bounce, but make an assessment then make changes. If through your conversation with your mate changes aren’t able to be made…then yes to put it bluntly bounce. Obviously there is more to it, but I think people drag there feet too often in a relationship. Often times people have that struggle of power, but sometimes the struggle is not worth it.

    2. Taking a a romantic relationship to the level of marriage or civil union. I do believe that individuals in a relationship should be there to help each other become better. However, there is meaning in “for better or worst”. What if the person no longer makes you better? What if the person drains your resources and is quite frankly not helping you progress at all? What if conversation is not possible? What if the person is a vegetable? What happens then? How much can you take?

      These are questions that again the individual must ask themselves before getting into a “compromising” situation.

  5. In reading this post, I was particularly drawn to the first paragraph. It says a lot about the make-up of relationships, specifically the line that reads “…our partners have no idea that they are expected to compensate for what we missed earlier in life.” I agree and disagree with this statement when it comes to power struggles in relationships. Yes, we look for our partners to offset our flaws . And yes maybe certain flaws of ours are present because of what we missed earlier in life, from something as simple as affection to something as deep as stability.

    On the other hand, you have those who aren’t necessarily looking for what they lacked earlier in life, but instead are only handling things how they know to do so. If a person is accustomed to arguing, fussing, and fighting; then he or she is going to do so because it’s all they know. This is why many abused children end up in abusive relationships throughout their lives because they equate being loved with being hurt.

    I read an article today that stated, “women are responders, so if there is friction/conflict in the relationship she is most likely responding to something that is off center…” Of course a man won’t know what it is until she tells him. Either way, no relationship is perfect. Power struggles and disagreements are inevitable. Essentially, are both of you allowed to be yourself while helping the other become a better person? Do you trust one another? Are the both of you truly happy together? 3 Yays??? Then relax.

    As time goes on, you will learn what works best for your relationship. Like the first paragraph said “power struggles are partially rooted in our past.” Indeed, past relationships are to teach and prep you for the big one. One day when you and your partner are too old and immobile to do anything, all you will have is the presence of one another. You’ll have no choice but to communicate and compromise. Make it work with who you enjoy.

  6. Hmmm…
    Power struggle… the struggle for power
    Meditated on this one- for damn near two hours…
    The subject got my juices flowin
    I’m all hyped up because I’m knowin
    I been there, done that, and got the shirt
    And if I take my time, I can make this work
    To clearly define the thoughts in my mind
    And present them to you
    In this elaborated rhyme…
    The so-called “power struggle”
    Invariably leads one to trouble
    But shall we “power share,”
    Then all in love is fair
    Then it’s just so easy
    To show how much we care
    When patience is low, how high the stress!
    How hard the test, when one’s soul is vexed!
    But back to our subject, lest I digress…
    I must admit, I AM the sh*t
    But it wasn’t so easy getting to this
    Point in my life,
    Beyond neglect and strife
    To this place I now am
    Where don’t give a damn
    See, this confidence, it wasn’t bought
    T’was hard-won; for it, bravely fought
    Defying the odds and somber statistics
    Inspired by God, His Grace, and Forgiveness
    No more a “power struggle”
    My sista, my dear brotha
    But the staunch realization
    Of my total liberation and
    My bold declaration that
    I am me, and I am free
    Sans guilt, sans apology
    You see,
    The struggle ain’t for power
    Nor for control
    The struggle is for warmth
    In a world so cold
    The struggle is for love
    In a world of hate
    The struggle is for peace
    In a world of debate
    The challenges of love,
    Anybody know what they’re doin?
    Everybody gets to it
    Only some of us work through it
    Enough to overcome; the rest accept ruin
    But I run it- when others run from it
    I keeps it real, while they be stuntin
    I hold you down,
    Though I know the storm’s comin
    I’ma go through- with you
    On your back or your stomach
    Now, don’t that tell you sumthin?
    I’m the ride or die type
    I live life beyond the hype
    Want you next to me at night
    Gimme wood, lay that pipe
    Treat me good, I treat you right
    But I digress…
    See relationship is about relation
    We don’t relate? Then time’s a-wastin
    This truth is truly basic
    It’s the principle, just face it
    Emotions got you evasive?
    Relationships will cave in
    They weren’t designed to take this
    At the root, you must debase this
    And operate on the principle basis
    But love gets hacked from attack
    Like a blind quarterback
    Reality can pack
    A punch as powerful as that
    Can you handle it?
    Oh, and that hand you’ve been dealt?
    My friend, you gotta play it
    Didn’t start with a full house-
    But now I’m holding all the aces
    So when it’s off to the races,
    I’m too keen to be complacent,
    I run that thing with patience
    Til I reach my destination
    Sir Andy, I do concur,
    “Power struggles are partially rooted in our past”
    But what of that which remains?
    There yet remains another half…
    That’s the part that we CAN control
    Self-validation, innately whole
    That’s the prize, this is the goal!
    A story many-a-times retold
    We’ve heard it and we’ve seen it
    They radio and movie-screen it
    In many a book, it’s documented
    And if you’d only stop a minute
    To understand the Master plan
    To every woman and every man
    The right to choose is in your hand
    No more excuses, just take your stand
    For the tools to reach success,
    To achieve one’s personal best
    Are enclosed inside the chest
    Oft un-nutured, unused, beset
    Look to the heart, it’s the heart!
    Where renewal truly starts
    And for this wisdom I impart,
    Upon this journey, do embark,
    Your inward light creating a spark,
    That melts the “power” from your heart,
    And leaves the “struggle” in the dark
    A new beginning, Noah’s ark…
    Allow me to be crass
    By putting the bull___ on blast
    I BEEN passed my past-
    Yesterdays can kiss my ___!
    And I speak only on behalf of self
    Can’t vouch or attest for nobody else…
    See, me-
    I’m too hot to trot, and I will not be blocked
    By hater, debater, fader, nor traitor
    Cause they smell it, and they see it
    They try to beat it, but can’t delete it
    It’s too deep-seeded to be defeated
    So, I shine, how I shine!
    Light so bright, damn near divine
    Above a dime, I’m fire refined,
    Sealed and marked with an invisible sign
    Clear as day, even to the blind
    But cross my line and you’ll quickly find
    That “attitude” emerge
    As curse words converge
    And I roll up my sleeves,
    Straight snatch off the weave,
    And start causin a scene,
    Oh, the wrath of a queen!
    Brothas know what I mean…
    But then, of course,
    Is my “softer side”
    There, I lay down my pride,
    And allow you inside
    For this thigh-high ride
    Where hot passion resides,
    Erotic fantasies abide,
    And I take your deep strides
    So soft and so supple,
    ____ taut for your suckle,
    Super moist, and then so wet,
    Your touch, takes only a sec
    For your effect to be set
    To take me high as a jet
    My stream I’m ready to let
    Unleash this ____ at your request
    As my horizon receives your sunset…
    Such a lady in the streets
    But I’m your dark chocolate treat
    So sweet, sweet, sweet
    T’ween these satin _____
    For you, a freak above all freaks
    Up and down til you peak,
    And my every secret is leaked
    Baby, trust and believe,
    I give you just what you need
    Remember- I’m every woman,
    And it’s all in me
    Again, I digress…
    See, I worked hard for my respect
    For every stack I got on deck
    Reaching high, reaching for the sky
    Never settling for less!
    First, I splish it, then I splash it
    I do it big- epic and lavish
    And they mad cause they can’t have it
    Damn right I’m stopping traffic
    Tryna get to where my cash is
    I’m addictive, like a bad habit
    News flash, new flash
    I am first, he’s last
    Why, you might ask?
    Cause in spite, his ass
    Just might move past
    And leave me lookin sad
    But I’m lookin glad
    For in the lookin glass
    I see sunny weather
    In the days ahead
    A million reasons
    To keep raising my head
    No longer on my mourning bed
    I’ll treat myself to the spa instead
    Happiness is a choice, so happiness I choose
    Every day I use my voice, silence I refuse
    See, I treat myself, don’t cheat myself
    And I suggest you do the same
    So when the rain bangs
    And the pain pangs
    You remain sane
    In that hour
    The “struggle” is acceptance-
    It’s never about the “power”…
    They claim my attitude is wrong
    And that I’m stuck up- like a thong
    Shut up! You ain’t put me on
    I wrote myself those sad love songs
    Therapeutic healing all own
    Wrestling my demons all night long
    Until the “struggle” for “power” was gone
    And that’s why I’m like,
    Forget you and what you think
    I paint the whole world Pink!
    Damn right I’m feelin myself!
    I love me first, not nobody else
    I’ve had my needs go yet unmet
    I’ve wrest with isolation and neglect
    A time when I had no self-respect
    But traumatized, jaded,
    Constantly upset
    Til I gave up the “struggle”
    And got my own “power” in check
    Oh, a twisted mind is quite lethal
    It’s a crime, should be illegal
    But now,
    I’m ready for my equal
    Original script seeks her sequel
    I’m not single by default,
    And never one to just throw salt
    But, I fly solo for the reason
    That some n*ggas consider it treason
    To overcome a jaded past,
    To drop the baggage you once had,
    To challenge the lies, admit that you mad
    To seek the good, accept the bad
    And strive for a love that truly lasts
    And now,
    They say I’m wise beyond my years
    But that’s from cryin all those tears
    From being busted and disgusted
    Crying oceans, rivers, and buckets
    Withstood the shame, internal disdain
    Then took the reins and re-routed my pain
    Unhealthy patterns were rearranged
    Renewed my thoughts
    Til my mind was changed
    That “struggle” for “power” for me is over
    I’m stable, I’m free, doin me- I’m sober
    My mind is clear, my time is near
    To co-pilot true love, a joint commandeer
    Healed from past wounds and incisions
    The “power to share” is my only mission
    To humble myself in gentle submission
    And relate to that one whose love I envision
    Until our next time,
    Til my next rhyme…
    Poetically Speaking

    1. This is written in a unique rhythmic stanza. I feel a sense of tension in your words. I like how you bring it “up” and then tone it “down” and smooth it out towards the end. Kinda or like a “thriller” or “drama”. Thanks for your contribution.


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