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How to avoid power struggles

Two Donkeys tied together, but pulling in opposite directions to get what they want.

Power Struggles

Power struggles result when people try to avoid feeling powerless by attempting to force the other person to submit in some way.

If this approach is successful, it provides temporary relief of powerlessness. However, this approach results in power struggles that produce high levels of resentment and hostility.

But it is essential that we establish harmony between ourselves and other people, places, ideas, and things. And this can occur only in a context of responsibility which requires the respect for the rights and feelings of others.

This responsibility brings up another consideration. The more power you have, the more responsibility you must accept.

Love Gives Us Power

In love relationships, we have enormous power over each other. We know where each others’ “buttons” are and can effortlessly push them, so each person has a responsibility not to abuse that power.

Validate Before Disagreeing 

To have a productive relationship, both need to make a sincere effort to understand each person’s beliefs, goals, and desires. A formula for empowering each other is to first validate the other person’s beliefs, goals, or desires. Validation does not mean you agree with them it just means you acknowledge that this is how things are from their perspective.

Once you have validated the other person’s perspective, then you can respectfully disagree with them. You could say something like.“I understand this is how things are for you. However, this is how I see the situation”.

It is critical that you validate first before you disagree otherwise the other person will not be interested in what you have to say.

Regulation of Hurt Feelings

Before any conflict in a relationship can be solved, each person must have the skills to regulate their hurt feelings. The “Basic Core Value” course teaches the skills you need to regulate your hurt feelings. Once you can regulate your emotions, you can then keep the focus on the issues you are trying to resolve, rather than focusing on how the other person has hurt you.


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