Power Struggles and Conflict Resolution

Power Struggles

In any relationship, we want to be heard, be effective and have an influence in what happens. We want to feel we have an important role and that what we think and feel matters. We want to be respected for our needs and desires. We want a sense of power to fulfill our goals for the relationship, the home, the family and ourselves. Power Struggles will occur in relationships. They are the “struggle’ to take a stand, to have an impact, to fulfill our own need and to have our feelings recognized and represented. These are natural experiences with partnerships and can be resolved positively with the right attitudes and approaches. However, power struggles develop into problems when the need to “win” ignites, causing someone to feel they lose – when someone is ‘right’ and someone ‘wrong’, when someone’s thoughts or feelings are ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – when the issue becomes a push/pull with the fear of not getting enough, not being important or losing something of ourselves. There are many reasons for power struggles, but what is consistent at the time they do occur is the immediate disconnection between each person, halting any movement towards resolution. A fight to ‘win’ instantly immobilizes productivity on any level and the positivity and creative force available through an open channel. Power struggles occur when the person’s fears, self-doubts, resentment, unresolved anger, hurt, self-judgment, guilt and self hatred are stimulated – this immediately exposure of the more fragile areas of our ego. I work with relationships to help each person understand their own triggers and emotional distress activated and how to responsibly deal with the emotions triggered.

Power struggles stimulate each person’s ‘fight’ to get what they think is right, however, in the ‘fight’ the most important component to resolving the problem – communication – is shut down. Without communication, the ability to listen, negotiate or resolve the issue is also shut down. Power over the other person is ultimately never empowering and will not serve a relationship in a positive way. True power is a power “with”, not a power ‘over’.