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A thought

In relationships, power flows to the point of least desire. That is to say, ultimately, the only real power in a relationship is the power to walk away - if one is not willing to do that, one is at the mercy of whoever in the relationship *is* willing to walk away. All other power in a relationship is ultimately given - the only power one truly *owns* in a relationship is the power to walk away. Everything else is something your partner gives you, or something given to your partner.

NB: This is not triggered by issues in any of my relationships. Mostly, this comes from a) having just finished a book on power politics, and b) being madly caffinated at 4:23 am. I am willing to discuss why I am wrong, in this thought.

Editted to add - the only power someone has over you, then, besides the power to leave, is the power you *give* them. This exchange is made explicit in D/s relationships, but I think it applies to *all* relationships.

Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
uniquecrash5
Jan. 28th, 2006 04:18 pm (UTC)
Eh.
True, the ultimate power in a relationship is the ablity to walk away, just as the ultimate power over you can have over a thing is the power to destroy it (just ask the U.S. goverment).

That doesn't mean that it's the most important power in a relationship though. It's really only important if one party has that power and the other doesn't (see the example above i.e. the U.S. goverment).

Assuming both parties in a relationship have the power to walk away, in many ways it's the least important power they posess.
uniquecrash5
Jan. 28th, 2006 04:27 pm (UTC)
Govering power.
And by 'goverment' I mean they tend to gover more than govern.

Yeah, that's the ticket...
curgoth
Jan. 28th, 2006 04:44 pm (UTC)
Re: Govering power.
See, I thought you meant "Groverment".

"My Fellow Americans - NEAR..... FAR!"
uniquecrash5
Jan. 28th, 2006 05:11 pm (UTC)
Additional
I've always found it facinating that in a (consensual) D/s situation, the D pretends to weild this ultimate power, but it is the s who actually holds it.
tormenta
Jan. 28th, 2006 05:35 pm (UTC)
Re: Additional
That's part of what creates quality, balanced relationships in the D/s context: the Dom has all the power to get what he/she wants to be happy, but has to keep the sub happy.

The sub has nominally no power, but has someone commited to providing a pleasant living environment.

As long as both keep an eye on their needs and getting them met, the functional result is not as far from typical as they like to pretend. IMHO.
night__watch
Jan. 30th, 2006 10:20 pm (UTC)
Re: Additional
As he said; power exchange. The D only has the power the s gives.

And ditto: I have recently come to some sobering realizations (which is strong coming from a drunkard like me).
tormenta
Jan. 28th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
I think you are absolutely right.

Further, I think you can easily use this as a criteria for identifying high-risk relationships (in terms of emotional unhealthiness): when the difference in "ability to walk if it gets to bad" is too pronounced, one partner will end up taking advantage of the other, while feeling emotionally uncommited themselves.
akasha_aurora
Jan. 28th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
the thing is... "if it gets to bad" you GROW the ability to walk away and the emotional commitment dies proportionately
tormenta
Jan. 30th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC)
Heh... I hate it when I type so quickly that I don't notice my own typos. "It gets too bad.", not "to bad."

I don't agree. I have two close friends who only got out of relationships where they were unnapreciated and disdained by their partners, often including being cheated on and yelled at on a regular basis... in essence suffering emotional abuse of sorts...

Neither one left. Both would still be there had their partners not decided that they were, essentially "Too boring", and left.

Both were heartbroken, and took months to gain the perspective to figure out what their own friends had been telling them throughout the months and even years leading up the relationship end: that they were not appreciated, not respected, and needed to leave.

In both cases, the "powerless" partner was the one who (in the opinion of outside observers) had more reason to leave.
zdashamber
Jan. 28th, 2006 08:22 pm (UTC)
I think this is really right about gaming, too. Which isn't that odd, since playing with someone in a game is clearly another sort of relationship...
locus_ofcontrol
Feb. 8th, 2006 03:07 am (UTC)
Hey...
do you mind if I like to this?

it's ...insightful.
curgoth
Feb. 8th, 2006 03:22 am (UTC)
Be my guest.
utsi
Feb. 8th, 2006 01:42 pm (UTC)
followed sharifah's link.

i'm trying to place my thought in terms of co-ordinating with your though (i would say in relationship to your thought... but). it's too esrly after a night of littel sleep.

i am thinking that the issue of self empowerment has a factor there. when one isn;t self empowered, one seeks power elsewhere. and gives it usually to someone to give back to us. when you own your own power, _then_ you are free to leave. owning one's power (or self is not easy though. and i would venture to say that society is more concerned with the quest for easy these days than the quest for (fill in blank)(knowledge, self...)

interesting post. i do agree that the concepts carry over and transcend the original concept in the book.

off to find caffeine now that my brain is taking issue with the order of my day.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )

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