Posts Tagged ‘balance of power’

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powerless.

September 12, 2009

“My life can never be anything without you.”

That is what Graham said after Jill’s death last week.  It was in the Evening Post Deaths section.  My mother was saddened and a bit confused.  My father was convinced that someone at the newspaper must have got the wording wrong.  I don’t know.  I mean, my mother knows Graham best out of the three of us (I have only met him once; I don’t believe my father has ever met him at all), but by his own admission he is a very private person and isn’t particularly upfront with his emotions.  So I don’t know if he meant to word himself in that way, if it was a typo, if it was just his expression of sadness and grief that came out a tiny bit wrong.  Perhaps it was a combination of all three, who knows.

But it got me thinking.  I don’t know if I would ever be able to say that about anyone, no matter what. I don’t know if I would want to.  I envision falling in love with somebody and the whole experience complimenting and transforming my life, but not leaving me totally powerless without that person.  I mean, no matter how smitten, no matter how rich or successful or romantic or attractive my partner eventually is, I don’t think that I could ever let myself be totally dependent on someone to the point that if they left me, for whatever reason or however it happened, I could be nothing without them.  I wouldn’t want that.  I was talking to Hannah last night about guys and about someone she’s been chatting to who seems entirely too dependent.  I asked her whether I came across as needy, and she replied no, the exact opposite.

This pleased me, and this was what I had hoped to hear.  But then I asked her whether I came across as so independent to the point of being intimidating.  Her reply stopped short of intimidating, but she said that I do come across as very self-sufficient.  Reading between the lines, this meant that sometimes I didn’t need to be so afraid of appearing vulnerable in front of anyone.  I am grateful that I can have a friend who understands me so much, she knows how to express a sentiment tactfully yet honestly, and I can understand exactly what she means.  This, to me, is much more important than a boyfriend who might come and go.  Obviously I want to have it all, and this includes the boyfriend who hopefully stays.  But whether I need to be a little more soft around the edges, I still have friends who like me just the way I am.  I think that in every relationship there needs to be a certain amount of compromise, but I also believe that it has to stop short of totally compromising yourself for the other person.  Because otherwise, before you know it, your world revolves around them and if they disappear, you’re left at rock bottom.  Perhaps it’s because I’ve never really been in love (apart from with Gucci and with Rafael Verga), but I’m just not willing to put myself in that situation.  I will think about guys and treat my friends and boyfriends well and think about them a lot, but I will never stop caring about myself.  Self-esteem has been (and to an extent, still is) a hard uphill battle for me, and I’m not willing to totally surrender it now, or ever.

It is easy for relationships to consume you.  I was discussing what happened at the Perfume Shop with Nick today, and with a little bit of perspective on it, I guess that it was easier to blame me for things going missing there because I am no longer a part of their world, than to confront their problems that the thief is still there.  I’m an easy target because I can’t defend myself, because I got out of there and they are still in that world.  When I worked there, I was doing 38 hours a week, and they were my circle of friends.  I would visit them on my days off, or at the very least phone to see how things were going.  I put my all in there for 11 months, and I was assistant manager / store manager for 10 of those.  So escaping from that environment was a blessing for me, but it also made me realise just how unhealthy it is when a job becomes more than a job.  I guess that a certain amount of restraint from total consumption, absorption, obsession with your work is a very good thing.  And perhaps it is the same with relationships.  Even if you create a world within that relationship which is just for the two of you, which is sometimes irresistible and timeless, there is a real world which keeps on turning outside of that, and we have to stay connected to that.  I want to give someone all my love.  But all my love is not all of me, and love doesn’t (and shouldn’t) equate to power.  I don’t ever want to be powerless, not for anyone, and not for myself.

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balance of power.

July 28, 2009

Growing up with my parents and their perennially “stormy” relationship (that is one of the most accurate and yet most polite adjectives to describe it), I have always been acutely aware of the balance of power that exists in relationships, friendships and even day-to-day interactions.  For example, many a time have I apologised to my mother after doing something wrong.  But I can count on one hand the amount of times my mother has ever apologised to me after upsetting me.  The reasons for this are simple: although generally, being man enough to apologise when you have done something wrong makes you “the bigger person”, it also means that you cede a massive amount of ground in the balance of power that exists between you and that other person.  Acknowledging your fault equates to acknowledging their lack of fault and thus their superiority (obviously not in reality, but in power-struggle talks, this is fairly accurate).  That is why “sorry seems to be the hardest word” – because it involves swallowing your pride and giving away a small part of it to your opponent.  And when you have to apologise just to clear the air, because you don’t want to fight anymore but you don’t feel you are to blame… well, I don’t bother with that anymore, because I have done enough of that already in my short 23 years of life, and another thing that my mother has taught me is how to hold onto anger.  The silent treatment is a fantastic invention for testing the balance of power, and me and my mother have gone 4 weeks without speaking.  Of course, I am not recommending not apologising, or refusing to speak to somebody for weeks on end, because it is childish and it’s better just to get on with your life.  I am merely explaining the logic that exists in my family of how important it is to maintain a position of strength in the balance of power that exists between you and everyone else.  The moment you are seen as weak or a pushover, that’s the end of you (until you find a devious way to turn the tables.  But no ground lost = no scheming necessary).

So I move onto the situation I have been experiencing recently.  My father has become pathetically obsessed with this online game called Evony (if you want to look it up, more fool you, but you can find info on it on youtube and all the usual places) where you build your own medieval town and then defend it from other people’s armies while trying to make your town more powerful and take over other towns.  And when I say obsessed, I mean it – he spends every waking moment of his time at home on his laptop playing the game, which doesn’t seem to consist of much more than staring at the screen and occasionally clicking on a little house, while reading inane commentary between other users in a chat box in the corner.  He is back at work now (he was off for 3 weeks on holiday) and still stays up until midnight playing the stupid game, despite having to get up at 5:45am the following morning. He drinks cider and shovels crisps in his mouth and does not allow me to sit on the sofa nor watch the tv.  And I am 30 years his junior, so I am DAMNED if I am going to go to bed before him without enjoying even 5 minutes of peace and quiet downstairs in the lounge, watching what I want on tv (the only chance I get to watch what I want is when my parents are not present, which is usually once they have gone to bed) and having a cigarette outside on the patio and listening to my music undisturbed.

This is where the balance of power comes into play.  I don’t know if my father has decided on purpose to stay up until stupidly late to try and annoy me, but it certainly does the trick.  I of course refuse to go to bed, and my advantage is that I do not have to get up stupidly early for work the next day (though I am, as of today, employed again!!! The hospital came through, yayyyy 😀 😀 😀 )… Whether this is, in his view, a struggle for power and supremacy by despatching me from the lounge or whether he is just single-mindedly playing his pathetic little game, I now view it as a competition for control of the television at least 1% of the day, and establishing myself as more than just another piece of furniture around the house who disappears without causing any trouble.  I will not be ousted from my own house by my own father who is 30 years older than me and playing an idiotic little game.  I will not be sent to my room before I am ready to go, and I will not cede control of my bedtime nor of my right to enjoy myself in my home.  I will stay up until he goes to work if necessary… I don’t care.  This is a battle of wills now, and I promise you one thing: Like Rocawear, I will not lose.