A lot of people are confused about what my obsession is with relationships and power and what exactly I mean by it. If you love someone, you give yourself completely, right? Everything flows naturally, they think. But does it really – flow “naturally”? And does this natural flow serve your interests and cater to your needs?
Who controls the TV remote, for instance, when there is a fashion show you are watching but Manchester United or Arsenal or Liverpool have a game at the same time? Who decides what food you eat for what meal, what restaurant you go to on a date?
Who picks out the movies? Whose preference do you commonly end up watching if you can’t both agree on the same? Who calls the other to set up all plans for spending time together and whose house do you meet at? Whose schedule dominates these arrangements?
Who decides what friends you can no longer have and if your family are spending too much time at your house or taking up so much of your time and money? Who thinks that dress you wore is too short, too long, the shirt too neon, the nail polish too glum? How expensive is the hairstyle you chose – who counts and balances?
Who determines whether and when they are satisfied with what explanation you gave for having left their phone calls unanswered, because you were busy, in class, in a meeting, or even very simply and happily taking a mid-evening nap like a normal person? Who decides how many children the family will have, what their names will be, which schools they will go to?
All of these things. Small things. Big things. Important things. Tell me again relationships are not about power play. Deny it all you want, but every relationship in your life is exactly about this. Now, the smart thing would be to begin noticing these seemingly insignificant details and if you find that along the way you got too submissive and too accommodating, know that it is time to turn the tables and balance out the scale.
Begin to undetectably (for harmony’s sake – we all want a happy world) but determinedly take back your power and your pride. Learn to ask for what you want, to make a case for what matters to you and to own your voice and stand up for yourself.
We are all headed for parenthood, if we aren’t already there. An unempowered parent cannot protect their children from a domineering partner. Aspire to have the kind of home where your children will feel heard and safe to form, have and express their opinions.
The alternative to empowered children is that you deliver children into the world who become easy pushovers in their adulthood and who ooze of timidity, indecision and averageness. Nobody wants a world of unempowered citizens. The ones who sit at national and global negotiating tables, because they are well-read, and bring us back sweaty suits and bad deals and convince us that they did their best.
The world is full of wolves at all levels of community and civilization. You choose to be a sheep, you get fed on and we call it dinner. You see how you being in a bad relationship makes our world a worse place? You are wrong if you think you are dating for yourself. You are dating for all of us.