With Great Power…

Elisa A. Escalante/ LCSW/ 3-20-2022

“Some people will show a fictional version of themselves, with the motive of getting the best they can out of you.”- EaE

Sometimes you do not know the power you possess, mentally. Sometimes our mental traits, defense mechanisms and even disorders, can give us advantages over other mental dispositions. A person with descent morals will recognize their power and take it seriously. An oblivious person may not realize the power they hold as they continue to hurt others. And, an evil person, will use the power to their advantage without a care in the world. These power dynamics can play out in friendships, intimate relationships, family dynamics and work relationships. The off-set balance can give some people advantages that they do not deserve, while other people may get the short end of the stick if their mental traits and character put them at a disadvantage, even when they have good intentions and work hard. In this blog I will discuss what happens when certain mental traits/ personalities fuse together/ join forces but create an unhealthy dynamic that may leave one or more people hurt. This education could possibly help oppressors learn to tame their ability to hurt others and can help victims learn to see a cycle that they may want to get out of.

       Disinhibited attachment vs Attachment Anxious

Disinhibited attachment stems from those that were neglected in their upbringing to a point they learned to emotionally distance themselves and handle life on their own. They learn to not need people in any capacity and can be okay in extreme amounts of solitude. Meanwhile, attachment anxious people have similar upbringings with neglect and abandonment. However, instead of learning to be alone, they went the opposite route and tend to chase and cling in order to get the love they long for. If you happen to be a person with disinhibited attachment, with someone that is attachment anxious, you hold a lot of power. You can be okay alone, mean while the attachment anxious will long for you, and also chase you when you pull away. This can cause a very unhealthy dynamic which may result in serious heartbreak. Some attachment anxious people may even get suicidal if they continue to get into relational dynamics that make them feel ‘unworthy’ and used. Be very careful with this power, and if you are not serious about someone, maybe be honest and try not to lead anyone on. And to the attachment anxious, learning not to chase will be your biggest challenge, but it will also set you free when you master it.

       The Narcissist vs The Savior

Unfortunately, there may be no point in giving advice to a narcissist because the literature will always tell us, that they do not care who they hurt. That is the true power of the narcissist, being able to lie and manipulate and not feel any remorse. This keeps them one step above anyone with a moral conscious. So, this warning is for the savior. Be careful who you are trying to save. Be aware if you have a theme of wanting to rescue others to feel ‘worthy’. You may feel some semblance of worth temporarily, but it will not be worth it. At first, the dynamic of a narcissist and a savior may feel incredible. What does a savior love more than saving and showing someone how good they are? They will get the compliments about how great they are. The saving will get reinforced. But eventually they may burnout and have a lack of appreciation. The true warning sign of when this is unhealthy? When you are saving and saving and saving, and the other person is not reciprocating. Then, when you are fatigued and need a break, if they hate you for it, they didn’t love you. They loved what you had to offer. That is not a collaborative relationship, that is a one-way relationship that only served the narcissist, not the savior. A person that cares for you, will care for your health and wellbeing.

       The Anxious vs the Depressed

 Anxious people tend to live in “What if?” land, meanwhile depressed people live in “whyyy?” land. One obsesses and fusses over everything, while the other ruminates and shuts out the world. Anxious people use the energy to be on ‘go go go’ mode and have the compulsion to control outcomes in order to ease their anxiety. Meanwhile, depressed people are fatigued and numbed out to a point it’s hard to care about anything. These two mental dispositions and belief patterns typically cannot understand each other. They offend each other. The anxious to the depressed: “Why the hell don’t you care about this?”  The depressed to the anxious: “Why do you care so damn much?” In this case, neither are completely wrong or right, neither encompass all the power, despite what some may believe. They’re just on opposite ends of the spectrum, and it may complicate the dynamics of a relationship. As the depressed person, it may be tempting to make fun of the anxious as they ‘care way too much’. Then as the anxious person, it’s tempting to ridicule the depressed person, as they are ‘way too negative’. They both have different areas of power, and different areas of weakness. Empathy please!!!  

       The Blunt & outspoken vs the Silent & Timid

If you are blunt & outspoken and have some type of intimate, family, work relationship or friendship with a shy/ silent and timid type, it’s important to know you hold a lot of power. You get your words and feelings out there, while they feel the need to keep quiet. You may offend them without getting faced with confrontation. They may be burning inside with resentment while you go about life saying what you want. Despite popular belief, quiet people are not necessarily ‘snobby’. In many cases, they were taught to not voice their concerns or stand up for themselves for a variety of reasons. This could include abuse in childhood, cultural teachings, religious teachings and so on. Not all people that are blunt and outspoken are abusive, but for the ones that tend to be, this can create a very unhealthy relational dynamic. This could include chronic emotional abuse. If you were taught to speak your mind, that is a good thing, but if you were NOT taught to consider your delivery as well as the listener’s feelings, then you may be abusing this power. And, the silent person has the difficult challenge of trying to learn confrontation and boundaries, something they had been avoiding their whole lives. This ability does NOT happen overnight.

The Loved Vs the Neglected

People that are loved unconditionally in healthy households cannot fathom what a person that was emotionally and/ or physically neglected has been through. The character differences will especially show up in a person’s ability to care and fend for themselves. Children that are loved learn to care for themselves in healthy ways. Children that were neglected and/ or abused learn self-destructive patterns that are rarely relatable to the majority. They may get ridiculed and harshly judged. But, if something is a person’s norm, how can they truly know any different? Children exposed to drugs may pick up on addictive habits, kids that were beat a lot may learn to hurt themselves with cutting and burning etc. Kids that are constantly ignored and starved may not understand how to do even basic things for themselves well into adulthood. A loved person will see these patterns as a sign of ‘weakness’, or something to make fun of. This is also known as “ableism”, when you can easily do something that comes hard to others and do not see the true reason why; that you had advantages that others did not.  When you have love, resources, and a stable upbringing, you have power where other’s do not. You can recognize this power and take the energy to uplift others, or you can use this power to ridicule and judge. The choice is yours.

Published by functionallymentall

Social Worker, Writer, USAF Veteran

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