So what really is a Power Struggle? 2 people trying to be right at the same time or control the outcome of a situation. History has taught us that only 1 person can be right. We have winners and we have losers. That might be true in wars, on the playground, or as a child being directed by an Adult, but in real life we all know there are many choices and options. When we live the single life we are captains of our ships and we don't have to consider the needs and opinions of a partner. Once we join a group or enter a couple relationship all that changes. We now need to listen, consider and respect the input of our team/partner or their will be an insurrection. When we feel disrespected the common responses are to fight it out, fly away, or ignore the situation. None of these options brings 2 ideas or people together in teamwork or relationship intimacy. So what do we do when we disagree in our relationship?
Step 1: We identify as a COUPLE and decide it's important that we work together to resolve the situation or issue. This requires that we are willing and able to listen to opposing ideas without feeling threatened. That we are able to respect the value of differences, even when we don't agree.
Step 2: Know Yourself. As an Adult there are beliefs, values and behaviors that you can't compromise without compromising yourself. There are some things you must stand up for. There are also things that aren't important enough to go to war over. You need to be able to distinguish between these two. When you know yourself you will be able to decide based on values and beliefs, not just feelings, what is worthy of a strong challenge to another's ideas. Knowing yourself can also guide you to a compromise of ideas without compromising who you are.
Most Looping Power Struggle behavior is a HABIT. It begins with a real difference in values or beliefs that remains unresolved. This main disagreement continues to be fought out in the small stuff that comes up each day. When that unresolved issue can be understood and respected by both parties, the small stuff will become small again with less importance in the relationship. The left over HABIT of challenging and criticizing will need to be changed back. Once the issue is resolved, the thinking can go from "you are my enemy" to I'm OK and You're OK.
Ending the Looping Power Struggle requires some intentional thinking and action. It may require several tries. It may feel resolved and then rear it's head again in the future. The key is to do the work and to not give up!
Remember . . . A healthy relationship is a great asset. Let's build up our relationships and not tear them down.