On Conflict, Authority & Power Dynamics

Conflict, Power Dynamics - AA Journal

When the rush of infatuation has settled down, every new relationship hits a phase of power struggles.

Here, battles begin for leadership and control of intimate life. And you’ll want to be ready. Her deep question is: can I trust you? If she cannot, she will harden into her masculine, take the reins of so many decisions, and most men will feel quietly emasculated, not know what to do about it, and store away their passive aggression away for an outburst down the road.

But power struggles are not only about testing and trust. Unconscious expectations and assumptions for how a relationship should be start to surface. Projections of how you-as-the-man are supposed to behave. We were programmed to expect our partners to act in certain ways since we were young. Soon, the fears of childhood will breach into your intimate life, and her (and your) unconscious predictions of how the relationship is destined to go will affect its course. As the two of you undress further, in the house of growing familiarity, and there’s ever less need for her to mask her naked interior, the beast within starts coming out. It’s a lot for any man to take. It’s a lot for her to take, also, from you.

There are day-to-day conflicts. The dishes; those texts; were you staring at that other woman? Then, in the world of conflicts, there are tectonic ones.

If you in any way moved on from the traditional format of relationships, you will know how many variables there are in life: how many ways in which we both can go. Kids or no kids? Marriage or not? Shoot for riches or the spiritual path? Where on earth shall you live? You and your partner might be 90% compatible, but there are likely some tectonics deep under sea. Irreconcilable differences! as they’re commonly known. When those tectonic plates slide and reveal earthquakes, does one of you acquiesce, do you evolve and find a ‘third solution’, or do you just call it a day?

* * *

How do you navigate the power struggles, whether responding to surface fights, or to the deep ones?

It’s never easy, but you can stack the deck in love’s favour. With tools and skills, with presence and compassion, and without over-aggression or collapse.

Refreshing your emotional system is vital (do you have rituals for emotional hygiene?). Replenishing your masculine spirit, and your fun spirit, is needed too (do you have dependable ways to recharge these?). I believe men need a place to go where we can be heard, challenged, and get guidance. We need to understand the vast iceberg of her psyche, that chunk of submerged (unconscious) matter that’s causing all the chaos to begin with. And you need some help to understand yours, too. If you can map her psyche, you can pick the lock. You can allow her feelings on any matter to come out. You can open her in just the right place, and get the bare, naked truth.

This is essential in seduction, and more needed still, a year or two in.

But if no-one teaches us seduction in this society, even fewer help us navigate the complexities of intimate life.

* * *

In every relationship where one (or both) partners try to keep up appearances, maintaining their dating face even after moving in, trouble awaits. The point of intimacy is that, sooner rather than later, our primal selves come out. If you love someone so much you want to build a life with them, there’ll be moments of frustration—anger; even hatred—it’s just par for the animal course.

There was a member of the Amorati (himself a coach) who had a philosophy of relationship conflict: every argument is based on a person’s temporary bad state of mind. Give space, and let everything go, he said. Don’t build up resentment for some temporary flare-up. A sage option. But one day—after some deep relationship duress—he found himself on the sofa having a panic attack. If you don’t sometimes address emotional issues directly, and cycle through your pent up frustration in full-bodied ways, that emotion will build up in your nervous system, fritter the quality of your presence, and cause later harm. As this Amorati saw.

‘Conflict equals energy’, a friend of mine says. Suppression is the road to disaster.

How are you, when dealing with conflict?

What about anger, boundaries, disagreement?

After ten years involved in relationship coaching and men’s work, I’ve noticed that men who struggle to deal with conflict struggle to get a good woman in the first place. You might struggle to deal with her kickback, her defences and tests long before the first date is done… or, you sleep together a few times, but wonder why the spark fizzles so fast. Why do other men seem to make a go of things, when I’m truly loving to women, and kind?

The reason? Lack of friction, in all senses of the word. Conflict shows you have a centre, a conviction, that you’re a full-flame human that can tussle. Women, I’ve noticed, seem to like being tussled with: an edge to the container, a line in the sand.

I asked two former graduates of Mastery to share their experiences:

* * *

Enter Benny:

 

“Prior to Mastery, in my pre-Amorati days, I would’ve abandoned my relationship or sabotaged the relationship or not shown up as a man, causing it to end one way or another, like really fast. Now I’m at three years, which has always been my breaking point, and it feels like nothing. I feel like I’m still in the beginning!

In the past, anytime a conflict would’ve happened, I would’ve probably been so consumed with trying to please her. And now I’m just content in getting to the bottom of the conflict, of getting a solution that serves us.

Surprisingly, my relationship hasn’t ever gotten that dark, like where we got to the brink.

I think a lot of it comes from a place of where there just seems to be a hierarchy that works. It feels like a power dynamic a little bit, where I’m seated in my power and petty conflict just doesn’t elevate up the chain. It’s not fully intentional. I think it’s more a natural reaction to me being strong in my values.

There isn’t a lot of uncertainty or questions when you’re living your truth.”

 

Enter Joe:

 

“When you start doing the work, you start to look forward to conflicts, or people doing things that you don’t like. ‘Cause that’s an opportunity, to see ‘wow, I’ve still got a blind spot there—a place to improve.’

That’s not to say it’s not hard. [My woman and I] have had a few evenings that have been a little rough, but we always end up getting through it and feeling closer afterwards.

“What I’ve come to see is that when she’s having a hard time, she needs my protective energy. She needs to know she can be bitchy and emotional and super-sensitive, and I’m just gonna be like, ‘yeah, yeah. It’s okay, baby, come here’.

Conflict is an opportunity that’s pushing me to be a better man—a stronger, more solid protector. I really feel that.

After Mastery, I now see in all women that, underneath the layers of bitchiness or insecurity or even anger—and I see this with my ex-wife now too honestly—it’s like there’s just a scared little girl under there, you know, who wants Daddy in that moment. And what an incredible thing to be for someone, right? To be the man who can give her that gift of complete acceptance and calm strength and protection.

What else do you want? I don’t want anything else really, you know. It’s so gratifying. When conflict unravels like this into such sweetness, it makes me feel like, ‘yeah, this is why I incarnated on this planet!’”

* * *

Your Power

 

What I’ve come to see, over and over again, is that when a man enters a relationship with a clear grounding in his masculinity, his standards and his power, much of the strain of conflicts can be taken care of, before you even start.

But even if you reach some black-belt level in the art of relationship, conflict, tension, and the closure of our egos, is an ongoing part of life.

Would you like the confidence to know you can handle any conflict your relationship throws at you, and know how to lead it to a great outcome?

How about sitting so deeply in your power, that her respect for you keeps so many of those ‘lower-self’ niggles at bay?

Empathy, power, conflict and compassion are core parts of what the 6 men will embody by the time they’ve completed their Mastery apprenticeship. Do you want to be one of the six?

 

Then have a good look at Mastery, and request an application for 2022.

 

Mastery graduates will get a deep apprenticeship of the presence and embodiment required to stand in conflict. You will sharpen the skills to see the deep structure of her (and your) psyche, and learn how to ‘pick the lock’ of those closures and challenges…

… unleashing the deeper love and sweetness that lay on the other side.

I hope to see you in Mastery,

~ Jordan

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