A common reason why couples struggle and relationships end is that there’s an imbalance of power between the two individuals, which can lead to loss of authenticity, decreased sense of self-value, conflict and misunderstanding.
Over time, one partner has taken a greater amount of control in some areas of the relationship at the expense of that healthy balance that is needed for the relationship to thrive.
The wider the power gap becomes, the harder it is to reach a healthy equilibrium.
So if you’re experiencing a power struggle or a “difficult to be you” in your relationship, let 2021 be the year you take back your power.
Understanding your default position in Relationships and the Process of Change
To make sustainable progress, it’s important to first understand why this imbalance of power occurred in the first place.
It takes two to tango and relationships take work.
Every individual develops ways of relating and intimacy patterns in early childhood. Early learning about love, longings and frustrations become a sort of imprinted matrix, a default position upheld in adult romantic relationships.
How comfortable and emotionally secure you feel depending upon others? Do you ever feel anxious about your relationship and worry your partner or important others will reject you?
Attachment styles define the extent to which a person feels emotionally safe and comfortable being relationally close and intimate with others.
Some people will feel more secure by being more dominant in relationships, whilst others are naturally more adaptable.
Are you able to speak your “wants”, do you know and feel you can name your needs?
Understanding how you are in relationship, and also your partners way of relating , can help you identify the strengths and vulnerabilities in your relationship, and thus take steps to address them.
There are four primary styles of attachment which can be a good starting point to understand how you relate; these are:
- Anxious, and
A Healthy Relationship vs An Unhealthy Relationship
There is always a correlation between the relationship you have with yourself (and what happens in your internal world) and your perception of your external world.
Sometimes people try to meet an emotional need by trying to change something externally; this might happen by seeking to control their partner. Paradoxically this involves a loss of inner power.
On the other end, people might have learnt that pleasing others (and never say no) is the portal to feeling loved, emotionally secure and good about themselves. This also translate into a loss of inner power.
Pleasing, brushing under the carpet, trading your authenticity for love might also bring resentment and loss of self-value.
Control creates a divide, impacts mutual respect and depletes the level of trust in the relationship.
In a healthy relationship, each person takes responsibility for their own emotional wellbeing.
This does not mean they cannot share their thoughts, worries, hopes, joys and suffering with their partner.
By taking responsibility for your own wellbeing and fulfilment, you are feeding your inner power.
A healthy relationship is one in which both partners needs are met.
For this to work, both partners need to feel comfortable and feel like they can be honest and unapologetically vulnerable.
How to Reclaim Your Power in 2021
Recognise and celebrate your strengths and achievements
Focus on the good rather than the bad.
We often focus on the things we want to improve, or the ways in which we’ve failed. Instead, try to focus on your strengths. Start to see your value.
Make a list of your strengths and your achievements, and remind yourself of these on a regular basis. Regain control by accepting that you don’t need to change, unless you’re the one who wants to – because you’re already great in many ways.
Don’t think that you’re a victim
When you think that you’re in a particular situation because of someone else, you’re making yourself a victim. You’re letting them have control, because you’re accepting that they have the power to put you in that position.
“A good definition of being a victim is when you keep the focus outside yourself, when you look outside yourself for someone to blame for your present circumstances, or to determine your purpose, fate, or worth.” – Edith Eger, The Choice
Instead, acknowledge what you’re doing, and what you’re not doing that have put you in that position? How can you change your mindset and change your behaviour to make a meaningful change in your relationship?
You have more power than you think; you just have to take it back.
Get to the source of the problem
As above mentioned, craving for approval from your partner has a lot to do with the attachment style you developed throughout childhood.
It’s the model you’ve probably adopted in all of your relationships, whether romantic or otherwise, throughout your life.
So it takes work but it is possible to end the cycle. Understanding what caused your need for approval is a first step to address the core issue that is perpetuating you need for external validation.
Define your values
List between 5-10 core values – values that you firmly want to live by.
These should be things that you never want to lose sight of in life’ beliefs that you firmly want to uphold. Don’t waver on these, they’re the things that you want to stand for.
Remind yourself on a regular basis; frame them if it helps. And consider, are these values that my partner shares with me? If not, try explaining why they’re so important to you. This way, you’ll increase their understanding and set clear boundaries.
Leone Centre Counselling services
If you could use help with getting your power back, at Leone Centre, we provide a range of services, including high quality individual, couples counselling, marriage counselling, and online relationship counselling, which could help.
But perhaps most importantly, we know that in order to bring the best version of yourself into any relationship, you also need to nurture the relationship that you have with yourself.
That’s why we also offer a range of services to help you do just that.
Where To Find Leone Centre Marriage Counselling Services
Leone Centre practices Individual an Marriage Counselling in London, online as well as in person from a number of different locations easily reachable; Fulham (SW6), Battersea (SW11), Chelsea (SW3, SW10), Wimbledon (SW19) and Victoria (SW1)