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A Valentine’s Day Gift that Lasts: Ending Family Power Struggles

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Want a terrific Valentine’s Day gift that lasts?

Learn to recognize power struggles that sabotage love, relationships, marriage, and families … and put them in the past.

A power struggle is an attempt by one partner to dominate the other. It’s generally tied to a self-esteem issue, a need to win, or a fear of being controlled.

Do any of these sound familiar?

The One-Up, One-Down Relationship

One dominates by intimidation, the other submits.

Decisions are made, intimacy is lost.

Submissive one seethes with resentment, feels badly treated, displays covert expressions of anger, leaves or sabotages the relationship.

Dominant one unwilling to admit fears, doubts, or second thoughts.

No possibility of confiding or vulnerability.

The Conflicted Relationship

Neither one is willing to accept the other’s position.

Intimacy is not possible due to so much tension, hostility, competition and resentment.

Survival and winning are the issue.

To Avoid A Power Struggle

Make your own desires explicit.

Make a consistent effort to understand each others needs, fear, limitations and viewpoints.

Expect differences — issues that are crucial to each other need to be fought for.

Look for mutually satisfying ways of resolving differences; most issues are negotiable or can be decided by the one who has the most interest in it.

Some issues may be non-negotiable – it is important for each to become clear about this for themselves — even these can change once we’re out of a win-lose mode and goodwill, empathy, and clarity take over.

Know it is your choice to accept your partner’s desires; you have the power to choose to accept them or not.

“If I do what pleases you, I do it for the sake of our relationship and for the pleasure I have in my power to give you pleasure. I trust that you will consider my desires with equal goodwill in those times when I have strong feelings, and that you will also make choices to accommodate my interests.”

Become clear about the three areas of autonomy and decision-making: personal, shared, and personal input.

The more autonomy each has to make decisions, the less conflict there will be.

Autonomy in decision-making is not a devaluation of the other’s self-worth — it is a statement of each one’s difference and uniqueness.

Ready to get started with a Valentine’s Day gift that lasts? Learn about “Emotional Stages of Engagement” and how they influence intimacy from this PAIRS Professional Training video and grab a copy of this Guide for Couples: Discussing Power Struggles.

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