How influential are you in your relationship?

In your relationship - who has more influence? Do you allow your partner to win you over, persuade you to change or soften your point of view? Are you able to look for common ground, rather than insist on your own way? Are you scared that if you accept your partner's influence that this might mean you're weak, a loser?

Or are you at the other extreme - always giving in, accommodating your partner's views, saying 'yes' to things you don't really want to do, all for the sake of peace? Are you scared that if you don't accept your partner's influence that this might mean you cop belligerence, aggression or even violence from him or her?

Getting the balance right between having and allowing influence can be tricky. On the one hand - we don't want to be walked over. On the other hand, insisting on our own way and getting it can exact a very high price in relationships. Many people who are accustomed to having their own way may be unaware that their partner is deeply unhappy about the relationship as a result. The price to pay can be high - loss of intimacy and even relationship breakdown.

Choosing to allow our partner to influence us becomes much easier when we consider this: do I want to get my own way, or do I want to experience true intimacy and connectedness? And if you're the accommodating one, the question becomes: if I don't stand my ground, what sort of intimacy is possible if I no longer 'have a voice'  in making decisions that affect me? Of course, if your partner is prepared to be violent in order to insist that things go his or her way, 'standing your ground' may mean getting out of there and finding support elsewhere - whether it be through counselling, the legal system and/or other services -  in order to safely have the influence you need to protect yourself and your kids. 

I welcome your comments and reflections.

Till next post - Vivienne

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