• Fe Robinson

Why do I feel comfortable in a relationship with an uneven power dynamic?

Most people are aware that relationships with an uneven power balance are not healthy. And yet, many people find themselves instinctively drawn to these one up – one down relationships. What on earth is going on?

While cooperation in relationships optimal, other positions may be more what you are used to. If you grew up in social systems where there was dominance from some, and submissive pleasing from others, then this will be coded into your experience as ‘normal.’ You will have adapted to this and learned your place within it, unconsciously acting out your assigned position. It may have become inter-twined with how you attach to others, so that for example you only feel safe with someone if they are dominating you, or if they are submissive towards you.

A first step towards understanding what is happening in your relationship dynamic is to understand how you feel in close relationships now, and to be clear about how you want that to be different. Then, a psychotherapist can help you uncover how exactly you do what you do relationally, and help you interrupt and change the patterns that underpin that. This can leave you open to learning new ways of relating.