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Types of Power in Relationships

 
master steward
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In Are We Done Fighting? by Matthew Legge, he introduces three types of power in relationships: power-over, power-with, and power-within.

Power-Over
This type of power is usually of a person or group dominating or coercing another person or group to do something. This type of power generally arises from a binary form of logic, which defines people as "us" and "them" or "good" and "evil." It typically classifies people with simplistic categorizations. Power-Over generally gets immediate compliance, but it usually leads to poorer compliance in the long-term.

Power-With
This type fo power is usually of a person of group working in partnership with another person or group to do something. This type of power generally arises from a complex form of logic, which views the world and people as nuanced. It typically focuses on details, interconnections, and spectrums. Power-with is generally slower to get responses, but it usually leads to better compliance in the long-term.

Power-Within
This type of power is usually of a singular person deciding to do something of their own volition. This can come from one's soul, personhood, or other sense of being. This type of power is usually the hardest to define, identify, and characterize. Sometimes individual actions, like refusing to move in The Standing Man Protest, can inspire others to follow suit.

What other types of "power" exist in human relationships? What are some examples of them? How effective are these types of "power" in the short-term and long-term?
 
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These are some great ideas.
Power-Within = Lead by example, control over ones self, compliance by concrete example of the benefits
Power-With = compliance by logic, showing that there is self mutual benefits, with shared agency/control
Power-Over = compliance by force/threat, little to no self-agency/control, no explanation or much benefits other than maybe the most basic of needs (security/food money/etc)
 
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By power, you mean something that shapes and controls? Maybe good to be a little clear what we're talking about...  

But anyway, I think the following potentially influence relationships:

- CONSISTENT and REPEATING emotions triggered by the other person(s); these can be low level. Affection, distaste, the whole gamut.  

- habit; all kinds

- consciously shared goals. IOW, why are we here to begin with? What are we DOING?    ... Or lack thereof.

- the opinion of "others" representing the tribe. There is always social pressure, good, bad, weird. It does matter.

- whether partners have their own separate personal lives. Lacking this, for all/any partner is a real serious problem long term. Might even be the the "root of all evil" viz relationships


The above items are not what people usually consider "power". But they define and limit potential in a relationship, what's possible and/or likely. And to a great degree they are controlled by those in the relationship. Or I should say, they can be - people rarely understand the importance of establishing good rituals, positive habits, good social effort. All the "little" things that make all the difference. The people involved have the "power" to mold these influences, to build the relationship in a certain way. It can be "together" (quotes, because IMHO most people don't have a clew what "together" really means) and/or unilaterally.

A very good friend of 30+ years came back from her therapist one day pretty early on, 1990?, with a peculiar look on her face. "My therapist says you're training me...?" Hot Damn! Maybe she actually has a good therapist!  "Yes, absolutely." Very VERY peculiar look. Off to think. One of the very very few times I ever shut her up! <GG> Subject never mentioned again, we both continued to do our thing; maybe with a little more subtlety, but probably not. Point: We were both working on this relationship. It's important, it's a good idea, it's not wrong. And yes, luck plays a part. But a person has to have some kind of clew, and some place to stand and see at least some truth. From what I've seen, I guess that's some kind of high bar... We have been more or less lucky, my friend and I, but I have watched her make her own luck day in and day out. Sooo not just a matter of chance. And I kept working to instill some good behavior habits. <g> We're not a success story, we're not a failure. Our relationship has changed completely three or four times w/out, well, _too_ much trauma and we're still working on things, probably forever.

I guess you could fit the above into the 3 power types (w/in, with, over) but perhaps it's more useful to consider how "power" can be used. Because there is _always_ power to be found - the better one sees and then understands the environment, the quicker one can find power. The question maybe is what cost wielding it,  and if taken up, what to do with it. Not all questions need to be answered. Not every "problem" needs fixing. "Because I can" doesn't even qualify you for kindergarten.

Rufus
 
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