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  • Fe Robinson

Power and love are quite different

“Recognising the difference between power and love is difficult if we were raised in a home where power was disguised as love” Marion Woodman

In our early life, we ingest fully whatever it is that is happening around us in full. We do not have critical reasoning skills, or even self or other awareness. We can not pick and choose. Whatever it is that happens in our family of origin and the other environments we regularly spend time in, that is what unconsciously becomes our normal.

Power, and love, are two very different concepts. Love gives freely. Love is focused on the person loved. It has an equality, a generosity. It is dynamic and lively, spontaneous and full, it asks for nothing. Power on the other hand is a concept of limitation. Where power is used as power over, rather than power with, it does not give, it takes away. It focuses on the person with the power, and can have a meanness, it is certainly not equal. It asks much, and may offer little, although it is often disguised as caring, protection or concern. Power invites compliance and exercises control, and in this way it lacks spontaneity or authenticity. It asks us to bend to the other, not to be ourselves.

When we are told we are loved, and yet treated as subservient, we are operating in a patriarchal world. We learn to adapt and to please, and we can lose touch with who and what we truly are. The difficulty is we then go through life not realising this is not normal or necessary, we conflate love and power, and unconsciously seek the same relational patterns that have gone before.

A good question to ask yourself in relationship is whether the relationship makes you more, or less, of you. Does it bring out your spontaneity, a freedom to be? Does it celebrate your individuality and idiosyncrasies? Does it energise and lift you? If so, it may well be filled with love. If not, it may warrant a closer look to understand what is happening in the dynamic, and what you and the other can do to make a difference to it.

For couples sessions or for individual psychotherapy to explore yourself in relationship, get in touch.


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