Unresourceful power cycles.

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Unresourceful power cycles
When pushed to the extreme, if not as a default mode of operating, most of us use unresourceful power strategies to meet our needs, because nobody taught us resourceful ways of doing so. My tendency, when my needs are not met, is to let it be, drop it, let it go, “never mind”, “it’s OK”, and so on, until I explode and then use power-over. I have a suspicion that this is a learned cycle from my childhood abuse, where my default position is to let my boundaries be stepped over till I can’t bear it any longer and then set a limit that carries all the frustration and pain of that. This could be described, then, as the victim or power-under cycle.
The other side of the coin then, would be the abuser/bully or power-over cycle. That one I guess asserts its needs in an aggressive manner (often disguised with socially accepted coercive measures like rewards, praise, emotional blackmail and other subtle manipulation methods) until the recipients of those measures have taken their fill and rebel, to which, when trapped, the oppressor responds with a submissive attitude and a plea for mercy/forgiveness.
It’s interesting for me to notice that both roles need a cooperative other side to be able to function. Both have a default mode of operation which meets nobody’s true life-serving needs, but often the powerlessness position is the one to feel that (in the case of children, it tends to happen during adolescence because before that they don’t have the power to rebel). And when that happens, the two most common changes that I see out there are: 1. The victim becomes the oppressor from that moment onward. 2. The victim becomes the oppressor for a while, but then they both go back to their original roles.
I can see that, in our family, the boys tend to operate in the power-over position and the girls tend toward the power-under, and I can see the clear connection to my childhood. I chose a husband that complemented my power-under tendency with a power-over one (which, of course, are the raw ingredients we both needed to be able to heal those cycles eventually). And my children have mimicked those tendencies by assuming the same positions: my daughter like me, and my son like his dad. (I can also see a clear resonance to global archetypes, here)
Underneath all our actions there are life-serving needs we are trying to meet and values we are trying to protect. Trouble is, the way we have learned to do so, does it only partially at best, and even then, at the cost of other needs and values. There is always a loss. Do you resonate? Can you see those patterns in your life? Do you identify with one or the other?
I think it’s a tragedy that we have been told “this is life”: “you can’t always win!”; “you can’t have it all!”; “life is a give and take!” I have experienced something different, and I am here to spread the good news that there is another way of going about it!!! There is always the possibility of finding a win-win solution, if we only learn to disengage from the unresourceful cycle and learn a new one. The alternative takes listening, deeply listening to resistance, to “the other”. I have seen that over and over again. As I learn to embody this new paradigm, I see my family respond: my relationship with my husband becomes more balanced, especially in times of tension. My daughter learns to voice her needs and assert her boundaries; my son learns to hear others and honour their needs.
The good news is that there is an alternative, and its discovery got me SO excited, that it became my passion to share it with others. The alternative, this new paradigm of relating, is what I teach.
Maira Jorba
Empoweror (“the person who empowers”)



Maira Jorba Empowerment


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