Chapter 2 - Influences Subchapter: Power

Using power to control

In an intimate personal relationship, the ME and the YOU and the US parts all need to be treated equally and with respect.

 

A three-panel image of Me, You, Us. Me and you have a character with a crown on each, and the ‘Us’ panel has two characters hugging and sharing one crown.

 

Shared decisions involve someone else. Shared decisions are both your business and the other person’s business.

In the Field Model, if both persons freely say YES to a decision without any pressure or coercion, both persons can move to the Action Zone and start acting on the decision.

 

The Field Model diagram with two characters on Yes - the Action Zone lights up.

 

Acting on a decision means consent has been freely given without any pressure or coercion.

Consent is NOT freely given when power has been used to CONTROL the outcome of the decision.

 

An ambitious looking character stealing their partner’s share of the crown from their head.

 

Influence versus control

In any relationship, one person will often try and influence the other person, and vice versa. It’s human nature to try and have our wants and needs met.

For example: it’s Saturday night and one person wants to go clubbing but the other person is tired from a busy week and prefers a quiet dinner and movie.

  • If we go clubbing tonight, tomorrow you can sleep in and I’ll do all the cleaning.
  • Sleep in sounds wonderful. Ok let’s go clubbing, but not too late.
  • No problem.

 

CAN GO CLUBBING?

The Field Model diagram with two characters on Yes - the Action Zone lights up.

 

Reward power is often used to influence the outcome of a decision. One person wants something, and they promise a reward to compensate the other person for complying with their want.

Clubbing or dinner, ice-cream or gelato, grey couch or green couch, get up early or sleep in - the ways that people in relationships learn to compromise when making shared decisions is endless.

Relationships are an ongoing series of shared decisions, and compromise is a necessary component of successful respectful relationships.

Compromise recognises that we’re all individuals with our own unique rich inner and outer worlds.

A person may try to influence another person as a means to get what they want, but the other person always has the right to say NO.

A NO must always be respected.

Influence becomes pressure or coercion when one person deliberately ignores the other person’s inner world and attempts to force a YES in a shared decision.

Without pressure or coercion, the other person might have decided MAYBE or even NO. 

 

Using power to control

For example: it’s Saturday night and one person wants to go clubbing but the other person is tired from a busy week and prefers a quiet dinner and movie.

 

CAN GO CLUBBING? 

The Field Model diagram with one character on Yes and one character on No - the End Zone lights up and both move to it.

 

Then the person who wants to go clubbing says:

  • If you really loved me, you’d want to come clubbing. Maybe you don’t love me? Is that it? Maybe I should go and meet new people!
  • Fine! I’ll go!

Making threats to change a NO to a YES is coercion.

One person has decided they are a NO to clubbing, but the other person is using power as a tactic to try and change the NO to YES.

This is a line move. If the person agrees YES, it will be because they’ve been pressured, even threatened with the end of the relationship.

 

The Field Model diagram with one character Yes and one character No. The Yes character moves the Yes line all the way past No and bowls over the other character and turns the whole space into the Action Zone.

 

It’s for each person to determine how disrespectful or abusive behaviour makes them feel, and what action they want to take as a consequence.

 

Character wearing a crown places another character in a rubbish bin and tries to close the lid.

 

If being pressured or coerced is common when making shared decisions, it’s likely that the relationship is not respectful, and it may not be in the best interests of both persons for it to continue.