Finding Your Power in Relationships
Growing and Healing through Relationships, Part II.
Finding YOUR Power
A common challenge in relationships is maintaining your sense of self and not losing your identity and yourself to the relationship. In the beginning of relationships our best and most flexible selves show up and we spend time enjoying being with one another and experiencing the other person and their life. But what so easily happens, is we establish co-dependent cords and our patterns, which are most often family patterns, begin to take hold. We exchange energy, supporting one another where the other may have fears and this is all done unconsciously. It results in our power being compromised. But like with every experience, this is an opportunity to learn and to grow as we discover how we use and misuse, give and take power.
Co-dependency works for awhile in relationships, but as one or both people begin to grow, the co-dependent "cord" that exists between the two of you begins to hold one another back. As we attempt to break the cord, stretch the cord, create new contracts in our relationships, tension rises as does struggle. This is all a normal part of the growth process. One person begins to grow and our unconscious contracts begin to change and provides the opportunity for the other person to grow. Our inherent desire as human beings is to become whole, and our relationships provide us with the co-dependent dynamic that holds the key to our transformation.
In co-dependent relationships power is being both given and taken. It's a more common dynamic then many realize. It's a dynamic that both people engage in. No one can take your power unless you are freely giving it. So what does this exchange of power look like? Well, most often, if you are the person giving away your power, you are not always making decisions that serve you as much as they serve the other person. And you may have a very convincing train of thoughts and reasons as to why it's the best decision. You may find yourself in more of a supportive role, supporting the dreams of others but not your own. Or you may find yourself saying yes to the other person when you'd truthfully rather be saying no. The core belief is often one of believing you have to make the other person happy to have their love or friendship.
The person on the other side of this dynamic often finds themselves in a role where they may feel entitled, or dependent on the other person to always be there. They are often afraid of losing this person, a core abandonment issue, and unconsciously find ways to keep the person from gaining their independence or their own personal power. Maybe there are very subtle, or not so subtle, insinuations that the other person isn't smart enough or experienced enough to
create what they want. In worse case scenarios, there's emotional or physical abuse. But the core issue here is often one of fearing to be alone and/or abandoned and the co-dependent cords we establish provide us with a false sense of security that the other person will always be there for us.
So how do we dissolve these cords and grow? The first step is to recognize that you’re either holding the other person back and lean into your fears regarding losing this person. Breathe through your feelings and your fears. Chances are, your fears were established long ago based on a childhood situation so making sense of them and rationally trying to understand them doesn’t always alleviate your fears. Breathe and trust that you are going to be okay.
If you are the person giving away your power, lean into your fear of not feeling worthy enough to be loved and/or liked with out giving a part of yourself away to another. Breathe through these feelings, know that you are enough and trust that you are worthy of being loved.
Observe your actions. Your actions speak louder than your words. While you may commit to being aware of this dynamic in your relationship, being aware of how your actions generate this dynamic is key. It’s the smallest of moments when we say yes to something when we really want to be saying no, or we give to another when maybe we need to be giving to ourselves. Or when your words to another are more disempowering then they are empowering. These moments is where you can transform the patterns completely. Pay attention, and commit to changing your responses from one moment to another and before you know it, the dynamic will have dramatically changed. You will learn more about your own personal power and how to work with it in a way that is both empowering to you and empowering to others as well.
Above all, don’t go into blame mode. This is a dynamic that both of you have participated in and having compassion for yourself and for the other facilitates healing. Most often, co-dependent dynamics are family patterns that have existed for many generations. When working with some of my clients, I have often worked with them to track these type of patterns back through their family lineage and often times its place of origin with in the family is tied to some worldwide dynamic such as a war that understandably set the stage for a pattern of fear to take hold. So please, have compassion for yourself and the other. Love yourself through your growth and the understanding of your own power.
Blessings on your journey, Trista