Knowledge is power. Information is
liberating.
Education is the
premise of
progress,
in every
society,
in every
family.

Kofi Annan


When the power
of love overcomes
the love of power
the world
will know peace.

Jimi Hendrix

Every day we have plenty of opportunities
to get angry, stressed
or offended.
But what you're doing when you
indulge these negative emotions is giving something outside
yourself power
over your happiness.
You can choose to
not let little
things upset you.

Joel Osteen


Written By Susan Stubbings 1 October 2017 
WHAT IS POWER?

THE WORD POWER CAN HAVE MANY MEANINGS FOR EXAMPLE:

·         Control                  Restrain                       Confidence
·         Authority               Manipulate                 Permission
·         Influence               Weight                         Be in charge
·         Rule                        Pressure                      Strength
·         Clout                       Force                           Ability
·         Muscle                    Heaviness                   Right
·         Sway                       Struggle                       Expertise
·         Command             Evidence                      Organization
·         Supremacy            Management              Esteem
·         Dominance           Potential                      Skill


We can think of power in many ways:

·         How people, groups have power over us 
·         The power we give to other people
·         How we have power over others
·         The power we hold 
·         The power we give ourselves

The power or the lack of power we recognize is ascribed to us by

·         Our position in society
·         By the nature of the groups we are members of; for example, rich, poor, black,
          white, child, adult, disability, class even our chosen lifestyle
·         Our positions in organizations we belong to for example a manager could be
          perceived to hold more power than a cleaner, or a counsellor could be perceived to
          hold more power than a client.
·         Even the order of our birth position within our families of origin, or whether we are
          born male or female can make a difference to how power is ascribed to us.

Power is used to construct social frameworks and is culturally located.  Different cultures will ascribe different power constructs to the same situations.  For example woman have different power positions in different cultures, as do children and elderly people.


HOW CAN I USE POWER COMPETENTLY?

To use power competently, genuinely with respect and equality we may need to explore how we personally use power in our daily living and whether we use it negatively or positively.


When we are using power constructively we are proactively permission giving and allowing other persons regardless of their status, age, gender, abilities, disabilities, culture colour or creed the freedom to grow whilst giving Self the opportunity for personal growth and development equally.

A question you may choose to ask your-Self is:

HOW DO I CHOOSE TO USE THE POWER, WHICH HAS BEEN ATTRIBUTED TO ME?


AUTHENTIC POWER                               CONTROLLING POWER

PROACTIVE                                                POSITIONAL
OPPORTUNITY                                          OPPOSING
WITH                                                           WITH
EMPATHY                                                   EXCEPTION &
RESPECT                                                     RESISTANCE




Power can be seen as a way of doing something, an action!  We have a choice to use our power authentically and assertively or we have the choice to use our power to control others.

  CONTROLLING POWER

Controling power is the opposite of the image above and it doesn't offer equality, respect,  autonomy or used for the beneficence of anyone other than the controller. 

When someone abuses power, they manipulate through their behaviour, their words, their non-verbal actions, their body language, even their presence can be abusive by exerting coercive control over another.



Controlling and abuse can be psychological, sexual, physical, emotional, mind games, dictating what you should or shouldn't do or wear, swearing, anger or even financial control.

The goal of someone who abuses power is to intimidate the other so the other is manipulated into doing something the abuser wants and usually against the victims wants and needs. 
 
People who have personality disorders such as Narcissism , Antisocial personality or Histrionic Personality Disorder have a need for attention to be centre of attention at all costs.
 
People who are perfectionists often feel the need to control their environments and all those who come into contact with them so they don’t risk being exposed as less than perfect.  But of course no human being is perfect so this sets themselves and other up to fail before they've even begun a task. 
 
Abuse of power can be overt that is obvious such as in a marriage and one of the spouses is openly physically abusive to the other or covert that is subtle not out in the open.

In relationships abuse of power can result in privileges for example “I’m the bread winner so you will do as I say” or “I put those cloths on your back” or “I’m head of this family so I know best for you”.  Authentic power would be negotiation offering the other a choice so all are happy with what is expected of them and happy to carry out the task.
 
In the work place abuse of power can be seen in ‘management privilege’ i.e. “I’m the manager so you will do as I say!  or “I’ve been here longer than you so what I say goes”, “this is the way we’ve always done it”!  Authentic power would be negotiation offering the other a choice so all are happy with what is expected of them and happy to carry out the task with agreement. 
 
Bullying is a persistent pattern someone deploys to get their own way and can be physical and/or emotional, physically punching or pushing someone over is overt abuse of power and covert abuse can be acted out by humiliating, non-verbal such as a certain look you know to mean or putting you down in front of others.
 
We all have our own authentic power we are not responsible ‘for’ others we have a responsibility 'to' others to offer feedback if they are not aware they are abusing power if we are assertive enough to do so. 

Once the awareness is offered and you have offered enough time for the person to change their behaviour and if they still abuse their power than it is time to do something else, something different.

Its not OK to abuse power or use your power again others.

You may need to protect yourself from their abuse or report them to an appropriate person this may mean leaving the abusive environment, telling someone else or reporting them to the authorities depending on the nature of the abuse.
 
We all have power and it is a personal choice if we use it authentically or controllingly.
 
The only real power we all have a right to is the power over our self, we have the power to change ourselves and it is up to everyone else to take their own power back from where they are giving it away. 
 
 
If you are reading this and thinking I could do some work to help me to be more assertive and would like some support to become more assertive and to use your own authentic power  wisely and for the beneficience of all contact me today for compassionate & caring support and together in partnership we can find your path of peace!

Susan Stubbings Doncaster