“Power Struggles”

Recently I had the opportunity to observe multiple power
struggles played out among nice, normal people.

You know the kind of people that you wouldn’t imagine
engaged in power struggles.

I saw spouses zinging each other, older women going at
each other, younger women stabbing each other and men
jabbing their friends.

And here is what is so shocking – if you weren’t really listening
you might not have noticed these jabs. Also shocking is that
these are all really good people, nice, smart, and funny.

But what they were doing wasn’t funny.

They were all angry at someone and rather than deal with it,
talk about it and move on — they engaged in power struggles.


When a person feels that they don’t have enough personal power
to have things go the way they want them to go – then they have
to find a way another way to assert themselves.

They might jab, zing or violate the boundaries of the other person.

Then that person reacts or struggles against this verbal attack or
boundary violation thus creating a power struggle.

It takes two.


Let me give you an example. A husband and wife truly love
each other but find themselves in new circumstances. The
wife spends too much money and the husband tries to get her
to control her spending.

She spends money when she is mad at him or feels neglected by
him, or feels empty for some reason. Then he gets upset about her
spending the money and he feels helpless, so he withdraws.

But he also does something else — makes cracks about her weight.

Now she knows it upsets him when she gets fat and actually she
doesn’t like it either. But she knows he doesn’t like it, and so she
eats extra pieces of cake and skips her workout sessions.

So here we have two lovely people, who both get frustrated with
each other and rather than sitting down and talking things out
and coming up with a budget, they go after each other.

Her spending upsets him. Then his upset causes him attack her
about her weight. Then she gets upset about the weight comments
and eats more and thus feels badly about herself and then she
goes and spends more money. And on it goes.

Two lovely people acting unconsciously. And choosing counter
productive behavior.

No one wins here.


If I were coaching them I would help her find reasons and ways to
feel better about herself so that she didn’t need to spend money
and eat to fill the hole.

I would help her look at where she could feel stronger, more
powerful and not need her husband to fill the void.

I would help him set better boundaries with her around her
spending and I would have him stop making the cracks about
her weight. Especially since it back fires on him.

Then I would teach them how to talk to each other in an honest
meaningful and intimate way. Then they could both feel heard,
cared about and loved.

Power struggles are a result of not feeling heard, cared about
or loved. They are a false and unsuccessful way of regaining

If you find yourself engaged in one – STOP.

Remember it takes two. If you stop, the dynamic stops.

Give yourself your power back. No one else can take it away.
Often we give it away and then play the victim.

You’re not a victim. Determine and then honor your boundaries.


Then choose to live from a place of personal power. Connected
to your higher self and the goddess within.

imagine the possibilities….

© Carol Chanel

Q & A

his question is from Teresa, a 45-year-old teacher in Paris

Q: “I find myself constantly battling my ex about our son. He doesn’t make his child support payments, doesn’t help out in any other way and frequently misses his weekend visits with our son.”

A: Teresa, this is a challenging situation. I know that you have been wise about not involving your son is this problem.

However you are caught in a power struggle with your ex. First, stop hoping that he will be able to look after your son when you need to go somewhere. Once you change your expectation then you will not be upset when he fails to come through.

He is obviously upset with you for leaving him and is finding any way he can to get back at you, even at the expense of your son.

That is unforgivable. But you can control your reaction to him by not reacting to him.

It takes two to engage in a power struggle and when one pulls out the other is left with just themselves. And their issues.

So stop engaging with him. Do your best to forgive him, be kind to him and stay centered in your power.

You are a goddess. Don’t worry about him not providing. He isn’t the source. You are connected to the source – tap into it


Carol's Services

I teach people to overcome the obstacles that keep them stuck yet longing for romantic relationships, more self-confidence and inspiration to accomplish their dreams.

We sometimes forget what it feels like to live from our hearts and souls. We forget the thrill of taking the brakes off and flying. Life is dull if we just live from our minds.

Are you - or someone you know - settling, for less than exciting, either in relationships or a career?

You can visit my website at:

You'll find other articles there and more in-depth information about both my services and me.

Carol Chanel
Certified Life Coach

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