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Karen M. Black
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A daughter's tale of truth, love and letting go

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An addictive spin on awakening, soulmates and past lives

How to dismantle a power struggle: here's what I did (with love)

“What it lies in our power to do, it lies in our power not to do.”
– Aristotle

It always astonishes me when someone tries to take advantage of me. But it happened recently and here's how to dismantle a power struggle if it happens to you.

Powering over someone is so far off my own personal radar, that when it happens to me, I am often catapulted into a state of surprise and bewilderment. Entanglements always start innocently, don't they? In this case, this was a man I've known for 15 years. He hired me in my first consulting job. We won awards together. Worked into the wee hours.

When after many years, he sought me out in the fall, we caught up. He asked for my advice and wanted to hire me. This was a project I never normally would have taken. I said yes, because I knew him. Also, because I had done quite a bit of work myself in the area he was asking about. So I thought I could help.

So we began a small project together. Early on, he began to flake on me. Called, asked for a meeting — today — to which I complied. Called another meeting. Canceled at the last minute. Gave me vague direction, even when I asked for clarity.

After three months of spinning the wheels, I asked him if I could invoice for the work to date, so we could start with a clean slate in the new year. He replied to my email, but ignored my question.

Excuses that deepen power struggles

Now I've spent over 10 years in consulting and for three years, I worked with this man personally. He's a charismatic and “big” personality. Funny, with an edge. Cares about his clients. We did good work together.

I know he lives a hectic life. I know that clients always take priority over suppliers. I figured that in the end, he'd come through. In our working relationship, there were good times, too.

It sounds like we were dating, doesn't it? But we never have. These were all excuses. For him. For me, for letting it slide.

Time moved on. We tried three times to talk. Three times he flaked.

Over a month ago, I realized I had to end this. I'd do it in person. I'd do it kindly and clearly and firmly. I would no longer work with him. And I'd ask to be paid.

Victim stories deepen them too...

Right now I have a dream client, who I couldn't even picture in this type of behavior. Others coming into my life now are also the antithesis of this type of energy. Yet clearly, there was something here for me to clean up.

I was away on holiday in the beautiful Bruce Peninsula for a week (and had some remarkable dreams of release there). The Monday I got back, I received a vague, non-committal email from him, asking if I was around.

I responded, yes, when. He suggested Friday. I said what time. Then nothing back.

Friday came and went: not a word. I talked with a friend about this. We met in teh MBA program and is also a consultant. Her thoughts were bang on:

“Well, it appears as if he's set it up so that you can reject and abandon him again....” Ahhh, yes! I had heard this story before from him.

Dismantling a power struggle: where to start?

I've long known that my natural capacity for openness and compassion is my biggest strength and my biggest weakness. Many times in my life, I've been sucked in to the stories of others, especially seekers who have suffered trauma.

I never intellectually “thought” that I could fix another. However, my capacity for deeply empathizing with another's pain and supporting them energetically, with the intention of holding the space to help them heal themselves has created relational cords of many kinds.

Of course, not everyone wants to heal, or even grow for that matter. Many want to awaken full potential with no muss or fuss. Some days, I forget this.

Power is meant to be claimed within — not from those around us

This drama happened to be played out in my consulting life, yet the same power struggles play out between marriage or business partners and families, symbolized by money, sex and even abuse.

The truth is that power is to be claimed within us, not taken from another. And by the way: we’re also not to give our power away. That's a form of abuse — to ourselves.

True power is not about powering over. It's not about making someone smaller (this includes ourselves). Powerful people claim their light, and then radiate generously to others, freeing them to shine their unique light as well.

Re-claiming your power (they want you to)

Just a few hours ago, I ended the last relationship in my life, to which I had given away my power. I was clear, kind and decisive: I was no longer available to work for him. I’m writing off the money he owes me.

I do this with love, for on some level I believe that his soul wanted this from me. He was a catalyst for me to assert myself. Perhaps I was one for him, too.

Your power-struggle partners? Even if their personalities protest, their souls want you to take back your power.

When you do, do it with love.

Meaning of life articles for your heart. Created with love.

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