Human interaction as a power struggle

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Deinonychus
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24 Apr 2011, 12:09 pm

I read in some psychology publication many years ago that all relationships are power struggles on some level.

Do many here view relationships as some sort of power struggle?

Bullying is overt power struggle, I have had "friends" who like to make little digs, sometimes out and out insults (got rid of those friends, which over the years pretty much amounted to all friends), so those types of things would be less obvious. (Maybe it is something more subtle, but vicious with women). I know I have done it myself.

It's one of those things I kind of wish I had never read because for many years now I apply it to situations that I am having a hard time understanding, and when the power dynamic is applied, the way people behave, what they say, many of the choices DO seem to fit.

So, thoughts?



leejosepho
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24 Apr 2011, 12:47 pm

backagain wrote:
I read in some psychology publication many years ago that all relationships are power struggles on some level.

Do many here view relationships as some sort of power struggle?

Power struggles of various kinds and at various levels of intensity certainly can (and often do) take place within human interactions, but no, power struggles are not inherently part of all relationships.

backagain wrote:
Bullying is overt power struggle ...

Bullying can be seen as one person's (or a group's) "struggle" (desire and action) for power, but the bullied person's "struggle" there is more about desire and action aimed toward personal freedom.

backagain wrote:
I have had "friends" who like to make little digs ...

When they compete with each other to try to gain dominance, that could be viewed as a power struggle.

backagain wrote:
It's one of those things I kind of wish I had never read because for many years now I apply it to situations that I am having a hard time understanding, and when the power dynamic is applied, the way people behave, what they say, many of the choices DO seem to fit.

What choices do you mean to be talking about there?


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Deinonychus
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24 Apr 2011, 1:21 pm

the choices people make when interacting, what to say, how to behave.
Power is an element in all relationships, and some just have more power struggles than others.
Oh, the reason I mentioned those things in my original post was because they were examples of power struggles.
Other examples, people breaking rules when dealing with others they have authority over (all harassment is about power), such as bosses, instructors, landlords.



leejosepho
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24 Apr 2011, 1:34 pm

backagain wrote:
the choices people make when interacting, what to say, how to behave.
Power is an element in all relationships, and some just have more power struggles than others.

My wife and I have no power struggles between us -- power struggles are neither necessary nor required within relationships. But if we enter into relationships with an assumption of power struggles being inherent, then that assumption can turn into a "self(ego)-fulfilled prophecy", so to speak.


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Deinonychus
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24 Apr 2011, 1:44 pm

I believe I said power is a part of all relationships (a fact), and some have more power struggles than others. The only ones that don't seem to have any power issues at all are usually ones where one has given up all power to the other, next would be those that power is recognized by both to be somewhat equal. Perhaps my understanding of "power" does not match your definition, but it's there whether you label it power or not.

See what I mean? I post, you argue, you throw in some "ego blah blah blah" ( like it's something beneath you), and here we go!! !!
Forum power struggle.
You are in denial if you really believe there are no power issues in you marriage.
Your very need to post your opinion is proof of ego.



leejosepho
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24 Apr 2011, 1:55 pm

backagain wrote:
I believe I said power is a part of all relationships (a fact), and some have more power struggles than others. The only ones that don't seem to have any power issues at all are usually ones where one has given up all power to the other, next would be those that power is recognized by both to be somewhat equal. Perhaps my understanding of "power" does not match your definition, but it's there whether you label it power or not.

See what I mean? I post, you argue, you throw in some "ego blah blah blah" ( like it's something beneath you), and here we go!! !!
Forum power struggle.
You are in denial if you really believe there are no power issues in you marriage.
Your very need to post your opinion is proof of ego.

I understand your perception there, but my own experience (as opposed to any given philosophy or anthropological study or whatever) says differently ...

... and I do truly hope I have not in any way appeared aggressive here. I do that over in PPR at times since that often seems to be "the order of the day" or a matter of survival or whatever, but I definitely have absolutely no need or desire to do that and/or to be right about anything here.

Peace!


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guywithAS
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24 Apr 2011, 3:14 pm

i think you are partially right.

people are always looking for value. its a little like ayn rand/atlas shrugged, but applied to relationships. the value people want is different; it could be beauty, fun, excitement, sex, whatever. if its your parents, they want nice quality time with you.

as long as the value|value exchange is met, both sides are happy.

however if the value|value exchange gets out of balance, then you'll see one side or the other start to exert their power in some form. thats when things can get unpleasant.

this took me quite a while to internalize, but once i did, i became a much happier person and easier to get along with. it might sound counterintuitive, because i guess its a fairly ruthless view of the world, but when you realise its all about the value you can provide others in whatever form, you can focus on doing that, and then all the power struggles magically vanish.



leejosepho
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24 Apr 2011, 3:26 pm

guywithAS wrote:
... when you realise it's all about the value you can provide others in whatever form, you can focus on doing that, and then all the power struggles magically vanish.

Yes, and that is really and truly sweet when it is reciprocal ...

... but then now I actually am guilty of a "power struggle" move by using your words to support my own ... :oops:

Oh well.


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guywithAS
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24 Apr 2011, 3:34 pm

leejosepho wrote:
guywithAS wrote:
... when you realise it's all about the value you can provide others in whatever form, you can focus on doing that, and then all the power struggles magically vanish.

Yes, and that is really and truly sweet when it is reciprocal ...

... but then now I actually am guilty of a "power struggle" move by using your words to support my own ... :oops:


lol.. i'm new and already being trolled here.

the thing is, people on the autism spectrum don't understand various unwritten social constructs like what i described above. this social construct around value was not at all clear to me for most of my life. however john elder robison who wrote "be different" clearly understood it well - and i think i'm higher functioning aspergers than he is. he figured it out and i didnt.

to the OP -- if you're experiencing as you describe:

Quote:
"friends" who like to make little digs, sometimes out and out insult


you're correct in recognizing it as a power struggle. its because the balance of weight between being your friend and whatever value you bring to the friendship has gotten out of balance. so what you have to do is think about what extra value in whatever manner you can provide that person.

examples:
- give them more time
- help them with their homework
- give them a business opportunity
- take them to an exciting event
- cook them dinner
- buy them flowers
- help out their elderly parents
- take the dog for a walk
- when they are having problems, clear your entire schedule to be there for them and support them

or, you can decide the person isn't worth the hassle and just make some new friends.



Moog
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24 Apr 2011, 3:34 pm

Real power doesn't struggle.


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leejosepho
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24 Apr 2011, 3:38 pm

guywithAS wrote:
lol.. i'm new and already being trolled here ...

... people on the autism spectrum don't understand ...

Since you are new here and I am no longer a moderator, I will just let that offensive bullshit slide! :wink:


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Surfman
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24 Apr 2011, 4:01 pm

Mother daughter problems, father son problems, sibling rivalry. Same sex power struggles and conflicts occur even with those who are the closest to you

Why do grand kids and grand parents get along so well? They have a common enemy



Last edited by Surfman on 24 Apr 2011, 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Moog
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24 Apr 2011, 4:05 pm

guywithAS wrote:
leejosepho wrote:
guywithAS wrote:
... when you realise it's all about the value you can provide others in whatever form, you can focus on doing that, and then all the power struggles magically vanish.

Yes, and that is really and truly sweet when it is reciprocal ...

... but then now I actually am guilty of a "power struggle" move by using your words to support my own ... :oops:


lol.. i'm new and already being trolled here.


You're probably joking, but just be aware that that's a hot word, so don't be bandying it around.


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LadyGray
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24 Apr 2011, 4:45 pm

Click me
^ No power struggle there, and I speak from experience in my current relationship.
(Link is Wikipedia on a certain kind of relationship)

Anyway, obligatory link coding practice aside, I think this philosophy is stupid. You might try to dominate everyone, but I don't.


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24 Apr 2011, 6:04 pm

LadyGray wrote:
Click me
^ No power struggle there, and I speak from experience in my current relationship.
(Link is Wikipedia on a certain kind of relationship)

Anyway, obligatory link coding practice aside, I think this philosophy is stupid. You might try to dominate everyone, but I don't.


You just did