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Signs You Have Power Struggles in Your Relationship

Jonathan Riley

“Every decision feels like a battle for dominance rather than a collaboration.” – Jonathan Riley

Relationships, by nature, require a delicate balance of trust, love, and mutual respect. When one of these components is out of place, issues can arise. One of the most significant issues that can emerge is a power struggle. Power struggles can be subtle, creeping into your relationship without you even noticing until you’re deeply entangled. So, how do you know if you’re dealing with power struggles in your relationship?

Let’s delve into 10 revealing signs.

  1. Everything Becomes a Competition: Does it seem like even the simplest things – like choosing a movie or deciding where to eat – become a tussle for control? If every decision feels like it’s turned into a contest, you’re likely in a power struggle.
  2. Avoiding Authentic Communication: A telltale sign is the reluctance or inability to communicate openly about feelings or concerns. This might manifest as bottling up feelings, avoiding confrontation, or steering clear of certain topics.
  3. A Need to Always Be Right: It’s natural to want to be right, but when this need overshadows the importance of understanding and empathizing with your partner, there’s an imbalance of power. Relationships aren’t about keeping score; they’re about mutual growth and understanding.
  4. Frequent Use of Blame: If conversations frequently involve blaming each other for various issues or problems, instead of taking responsibility or working together to find solutions, there’s a power struggle at play.
  5. Walking on Eggshells: Do you find yourself censoring your words or actions because you fear it might upset your partner or lead to an argument? This indicates that you don’t feel safe to express yourself fully, and power dynamics are likely skewing the balance.
  6. Withdrawal or Stonewalling: One partner may give the other the silent treatment or become emotionally distant as a means of exerting control. This behaviour can be a way of punishing the other or gaining the upper hand in an argument.
  7. Using Affection as a Bargaining Chip: Intimacy and affection should never be used as tools for manipulation. If you notice that affection is given or withheld based on conditions or desired outcomes, it’s a sign of a power struggle.
  8. Overstepping Boundaries: If one partner consistently ignores or disrespects the other’s boundaries, whether they are emotional, physical, or mental, it’s a red flag. This indicates an imbalance where one person’s needs and desires are seen as more important.
  9. Constant Need for Control: This can manifest in various ways, from controlling what the other person wears, who they spend time with, to how they spend their money. A relationship built on mutual respect won’t have one person dictating the choices of the other.
  10. Feeling Unequal in the Relationship: This might be the most telling sign. If you feel that your opinions, feelings, or decisions are consistently undervalued or dismissed compared to your partner’s, there’s a clear imbalance.

It’s crucial to understand that power struggles don’t indicate a lack of love or affection. However, they can erode the foundation of trust and mutual respect necessary for a healthy relationship. While it might be tempting to brush these signs under the carpet, doing so can lead to long-term dissatisfaction and emotional strain.

Recognizing these signs is the first step to addressing them. Knowledge is power, and by understanding the dynamics at play, you’re already on a path to a more balanced and harmonious relationship.

If any of these signs resonate with your relationship, it might be time to consider seeking guidance. At My Practice Counselling Melbourne, we offer a compassionate and supportive environment to help couples navigate their unique challenges. If you or someone you know is experiencing power struggles in their relationship, please reach out. We’re here to help.