5 Ways to Protect Yourself from “POWER PLAY” in a Relationship

“Power play” is a term that we are all familiar with. It refers to a situation in which one person or group uses their position of power to manipulate or control another person or group. It is often used as a form of coercion or intimidation to gain an advantage. Power play can take many forms, from overt threats and verbal abuse to subtle forms of manipulation such as withholding information or resources. It is an important issue to be aware of and can have serious consequences if left unchecked.

The power play is similar to a game of chess, where one player has a clear advantage in terms of resources and knowledge, and uses it to their advantage to outmanoeuvre their opponent. However, one must always remember that “Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”. And when it does, it affects relationships badly.

So, how does one deal with power plays in relationships? Let’s find out from Shivani Misri Sadhoo, a top marriage counsellor and relationship expert in India.

1. Know when you’re being power played

Watch out for subtle manipulation tactics, such as guilt-tripping, gaslighting, intimidation, or withholding of affection. If your partner is trying to control you or manipulate you, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship. Don’t stay in a situation that makes you feel powerless. For example, if your partner is always trying to decide what you should do, where you should go, or who you should spend time with, this is a sign of a power imbalance in the relationship.

2. Set Clear Boundaries

Setting clear boundaries helps to create a sense of equality between the two people involved, as well as encourages healthy communication and mutual respect. Without clear boundaries, one person can take advantage of the other, leading to an unhealthy power dynamic. It is like erecting a fence around your property. It will help keep out unwanted intruders and give you ownership and control over what is yours. However, setting boundaries doesn’t mean that you’re shutting people out of your life or being defensive. It is about creating a healthy balance in a relationship.

3. Speak Up

Power dynamics in relationships can create an imbalance of power and can lead to one partner feeling disempowered and taken advantage of. Speaking up can help to restore the balance and make sure that both partners are equally respected and valued. Don’t let others take you for granted. Be assertive. For instance, if your partner constantly interrupts you when you are trying to voice your opinion, suggest that you both take turns speaking and listening to each other without interrupting.

4. Communicate Well

Instead of using physical or emotional manipulation which is very common in relationship power plays, using words to express your needs and feelings can help foster a healthy relationship. It allows both people in the relationship to have their voices heard and for each person to be respected. It also helps avoid misunderstandings and builds trust. Communication is the key to a successful relationship.

5. Be Ready to Leave 

Be ready to leave when you’re being power-played in a relationship. Don’t waste your time on someone who is trying to take advantage of you. Respect yourself and don’t allow yourself to be taken for granted. For instance, if your partner is always making ultimatums and demanding that you do things their way, it’s time to call it quits and move on.

These are just some of the ways of tackling power plays in relationships. If you feel you need more help, please don’t hesitate to consult a relationship counsellor.