Most close relationships are sabotaged to one degree or another by power struggles. This is especially true when it comes to family and romantic partners.
A power struggle is focused on winning–even when “winning” requires self-defeating behaviors. You prefer Tex-Mex food, your partner prefers Italian. But the two of you rarely go out for Tex-Mex, because your partner really dislikes Tex-Mex. This is his way of exerting power. You try and you try, but still you can’t convert him to Tex-Mex. So instead, you say “Never mind, let’s just quit going out to eat altogether.” This is your way of exerting power.
Both parties–and this is usually unconscious–struggle to get their way, and both parties ultimately fail. Neither of you ends up eating Tex-Mex or Italian food. Such is always the result of power struggles. Since one person winning requires another person losing, a constant struggle for “fairness” easily results in emotional disconnection and chronic resentment.
Are you aware of the ways in which you try to gain power in your closest relationships? Are you aware of ways in which you tend to lose power in your closest relationships? You can’t really answer either of these questions honestly until you’ve answered both of these questions honestly.
About the Author: James Robbins is a licensed professional counselor, published author and co-owner of Dallas Whole Life Counseling. He has over 15 years of experience helping people in various life stages that come from a wide variety of cultural, economic and family backgrounds. Learn more about his background by clicking here.