In a dysfunctional or co-dependant relationship the feeling of love can be confused with a feeling of power or need. The feeling of love is calm, consistent, stable and peaceful, whereas the feeling of power is exciting, controlling and addictive rather like a roller coaster. False power can be about conditional love and a low sense of self-worth. False power lies with the lower self or ego or our shadow self, love belongs to the higher self (soul) as does personal power. Personal power is a feeling of inner power, being empowered. It does not assume control over another but stays centred with trust and faith within the individual as a backbone of strength. Our sense of personal power is centred in the solar plexus chakra.
Competing for power within a relationship can become a struggle which overlays or masks a deep insecurity and need to be loved. Instead of knowing how to and being able to meet their own needs, someone who desires false power are under the impression that another person should meet their needs. They may feel empty inside and when they are refused something may experience a sense of growing frustration, arrogance, indignation, anxiety and tension. In a bid to assuage these feelings, irrational behaviour and acting out may become a feature. Instead of being able to honestly state the inner turmoil that they are feeling and being able to communicate frankly about this, a number of manipulative tactics may be employed in order to obtain what is wanted. These tactics can include becoming competitive, criticising and cutting someone down to size, performing, threatening, demanding, intimidating, becoming withdrawing and cold, charming, bribing, whining and pleading etc.
When a person who desires power over another ‘wins’ or gains what they want, their sense of emptiness and lack of self-worth is filled and with this the resulting feeling of power an exuberance can then be mistaken for a feeling of love: ‘they have won’ and are now satisfied. When their demands and needs are met, they become happier, more approving and accepting -rather than rejecting – of the other person. They may appear to be temporarily more loving or generous, effervescent, gushing or effusive. False power often strokes the ego with lavish compliments, praise or presents.
False power is a ‘doing’ energy’; masculine, in-motion, consuming, rather than personal power which is a ‘being’ emotion; feminine, allowing and accepting. We can turn false power conflicts into personal power by learning to sit and allow the emotions to rise up within, breathing into them and allowing them to dissolve, by taking control back of ourselves rather than acting out, by trying to accept what is, in the moment. Talking therapies may also help if there is a need to learn how to express and communicate more effectively. Breathing into the emotion, acknowledging that it is there and allowing it to show itself fully can be far less frightening than running from it.
Personal power acknowledges that we are part of the whole, rather than all that matters. When we are part of the whole, we acknowledge others and can love them. When we are all that matters we are self-absorbed, we close up and cannot truly love.