How do you see power, abuse, and abuse of power?

Friday

Moderator
Yep, sorry, I misunderstood what the groupings were!
Hey... I used some skeeery words in that second group, depending on where one’s head is at!

I think I misspelled “trust” something like 9 times? 🤪 (And I misspell it so often, just sort of mumbling through it even when I type, that my autocorrect has virtually given up all hope. Sure. Trusf is a word. Yrust. Trist. Grusf. They’re all words.) There a lot of concepts I can think of in the abstract just fine... but become fairly Monet’d up (and or spiky) the closer they get to me.
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
I guess this is a problem of category thinking.

There is power/agency and wherever power sits, there are possibilities. Power etymologically means "what can be". So for me having power in general or power over someone or a group means what you choose in your options is going to impact others, positively or negatively.

Then abuse is when you use your position to negatively impact someone or a group and reduce their power, their agency, and/or harm them. You can cause hurt or harm unintentionally. Or intentionally. Abuse of power typically comes with a form of coercion.
There isn’t abuse where there isn’t power.
And there is a magnitude to the abuse.

Some kinds of abuse, such as a pushy friend, are lighter to deal with because they don’t cross the line of real gravity.

A jealous partner may be annoying, but they become abusive only when control pops in.

There is a difference between
a long and boring conversation where you have to reassure over and over and
actually fearing the reaction of the other because there is an underlying threat
and also being beaten up because they think you’ve cheated.

It’s the underlying threat and gain of control by narrowing the other perceived or real options to do whatever they want. The abusive part doesn’t even need to profit from the abuse.

---

So, I’d put it like this

POWER/AGENCY <---------------> power/agency
| mutual power ^
|___________________________________|
power over x
| |
okay: abusive:
healing threats, (emotional) blackmail
caring financial
helping sexual
etc etc

Note that "positive power" can also be used by the overpowered person or group. If you consistently care, give in, help etc., if suddenly you STOP, they lose their grip. Like a strike.

I use to oversplain all my reasoning, figuring if I covered all the bases, the other guy I'm saying no to will understand because he's got every logical reason. People who want their way......control, don't give a rats ass about your excuses.....nor do they hear you. Overexplaining is seen as vulnerable and weak.......more words means you're feeling less in control of the outcome you'll accept. And the part where you rationalize the goodness of power.....with a big IF clause before hand, and you hit the nail on the head....it all depends on the integrity of the human being who has the power in the moment, and his conscious. So, decide what makes YOU feel comfortable, shoot for that, and if need be.....you can compromise.....but in the moment, when meaningful or important decisions are beging made, keep it simple, know what you want, and don't be afraid to say no.....and keep the boundary you set.
This is very interesting. Basically, silence maintains a status quo. Overexplaining opens a door to influence and also gives a vision to the other of how they can use what’s explained against you. You’re giving information, therefore more agency and power over you. Until a certain extent. You might make a drop mic as well. Then the silence. If not questioning the structure you’re in and remaining silent is an advantage for you, it means that the situation structurally gives you more power and agency, at least to my understanding. And by creating boundaries and enforcing them, you can create that structure. You can also create this structure being abusive.
 

Warrior Chicken

MyPTSD Pro
HOW it’s being abused? Is as varied as any other kind of abuse. And just as damaging, in own right, if not more.

Does that make more sense?
Chipping away a bit more....it’s starting to pull away edges of that black and white thinking I’m having with all power being only abuse. But it’s much more complex than that as you’ve been successful in pointing out to me. That’s caused me to consider where my own misconceptions are coming from.
guess this is a problem of category thinking.

There is power/agency and wherever power sits, there are possibilities.
So working around the edges, I can see that I’m considering power from various age ranges. As an adult, I can see that we all have power even if one may hold more power than another in a given situation. As @TruthSeeker said that power initially belongs to us unless we bargain it away, give it away, or are afraid to use it.

What I’m working on lately is early life stuff, and it could be that’s where I’m getting hung up. In early life, we don’t have power....or at least we don’t understand how to apply it consistently even if we end up getting something we want as a result of behaviour - baby holds breath and gets food or love or toy, whatever....
So I can’t see bargaining, giving away, or afraid to use it. Just like I don’t see this as the kid having any power.

It’s become less confusing for me when I consider adults or youth who in general have an understanding of power dynamics and their interplay with them.

Which brings me back to HOW power is being abused that makes the difference. It’s on such a massive sliding scale in reality, but I’m tracking it as only massive violations. Slowly bringing this down though....
 

ruborcoraxxx

MyPTSD Pro
Which brings me back to HOW power is being abused that makes the difference. It’s on such a massive sliding scale in reality, but I’m tracking it as only massive violations. Slowly bringing this down though....
You mean in perception of severity?

-- Sorry my graph just doesn’t make sense in my post once it’s been posted. #facepalm
 

Warrior Chicken

MyPTSD Pro
Yes, I’d say I need to take a step back from it to see it. I’m basically standing face forward into a large grey shape that seems to have legs and a tail but I’m so focused on WTF is this that I can’t truly see it.

If I took a couple paces and walked around to the other side, I’d realize it’s an elephant.

I’m so focused on the negatives that power creates and/or causes that I can’t see the value it has when not used to coerce, manipulate, control, or harm another.
 

TruthSeeker

MyPTSD Pro
Chipping away a bit more....it’s starting to pull away edges of that black and white thinking I’m having with all power being only abuse. But it’s much more complex than that as you’ve been successful in pointing out to me. That’s caused me to consider where my own misconceptions are coming from.

So working around the edges, I can see that I’m considering power from various age ranges. As an adult, I can see that we all have power even if one may hold more power than another in a given situation. As @TruthSeeker said that power initially belongs to us unless we bargain it away, give it away, or are afraid to use it.

What I’m working on lately is early life stuff, and it could be that’s where I’m getting hung up. In early life, we don’t have power....or at least we don’t understand how to apply it consistently even if we end up getting something we want as a result of behaviour - baby holds breath and gets food or love or toy, whatever....
So I can’t see bargaining, giving away, or afraid to use it. Just like I don’t see this as the kid having any power.

It’s become less confusing for me when I consider adults or youth who in general have an understanding of power dynamics and their interplay with them.

Which brings me back to HOW power is being abused that makes the difference. It’s on such a massive sliding scale in reality, but I’m tracking it as only massive violations. Slowly bringing this down though....
All ids don't know they have power but.....but some do. Some kids are mighty powerful, and they throw tantrums. The maybe not so abusive parent at first does whatever to shut the kid up.....give him what he wants....the intolerant parent beats him.....instills fear, and really quick.....kiddo learns that it is best not to to what causes pain to be instilled-so, he hopefully learns avoidance tactics. So child either a) stops tantrums to avoid pain, or b) gets beaten up and feels unloved......usually, baby will learn quick because baby needs to feel belonging and think he/she is loved....even if that's not what's real. Children also learn whose in....and whose out. Older brother might be the scapegoat, so younger sibbling learns to be a people pleaser and learns quickly to stay out of the doghouse. That role is much preferred over the beatings she sees bro getting, and there are advantages.......she can manipulate to get what she wants-she behaved, and may get put on a pedestal as an example of how to be a good child . People as they stay in a dysfunctional setting, watch their parents manipulate and lie (to themselves and others) and kids learn to lie and manipulate to survive. While dynamics are complex in a dysfunctional home, often the house rules are clear....don't talk about what goes on at home, kids learn not to trust, ....and fear becomes "normalized" and internalized, making every day activities....so feeling get shut off as a survival skill. These roles change over time as the situation changes or as the kids leave home. In dysfunctional homes, boundaries are unclear.....and sometimes not at all.

But today, you're not a kid....so in every relationship that you are in, you have power......and the word is "no" is a boundary. You can set your own boundaries, and don't have to please anyone......because they keep you safe and make you feel comfortable and safe. Now, you can say no, but if you are a people pleaser, it's really hard to do at first, because you learned to make other people happy at your own expense...........you might feel the need to fix everything.....to keep everyone happy. Yeah, that was my role most of my life but it's exhausting trying to always make win-win situations with people who blamed me if I didn't get it just right.....or they weren't satisfied, and who couldn't be satisfied because they were unhealthy from the get-go.

I guess this is a problem of category thinking.

There is power/agency and wherever power sits, there are possibilities. Power etymologically means "what can be". So for me having power in general or power over someone or a group means what you choose in your options is going to impact others, positively or negatively.

Then abuse is when you use your position to negatively impact someone or a group and reduce their power, their agency, and/or harm them. You can cause hurt or harm unintentionally. Or intentionally. Abuse of power typically comes with a form of coercion.
There isn’t abuse where there isn’t power.
And there is a magnitude to the abuse.

Some kinds of abuse, such as a pushy friend, are lighter to deal with because they don’t cross the line of real gravity.

A jealous partner may be annoying, but they become abusive only when control pops in.

There is a difference between
a long and boring conversation where you have to reassure over and over and
actually fearing the reaction of the other because there is an underlying threat
and also being beaten up because they think you’ve cheated.

It’s the underlying threat and gain of control by narrowing the other perceived or real options to do whatever they want. The abusive part doesn’t even need to profit from the abuse.

---

So, I’d put it like this

POWER/AGENCY <---------------> power/agency
| mutual power ^
|___________________________________|
power over x
| |
okay: abusive:
healing threats, (emotional) blackmail
caring financial
helping sexual
etc etc

Note that "positive power" can also be used by the overpowered person or group. If you consistently care, give in, help etc., if suddenly you STOP, they lose their grip. Like a strike.


This is very interesting. Basically, silence maintains a status quo. Overexplaining opens a door to influence and also gives a vision to the other of how they can use what’s explained against you. You’re giving information, therefore more agency and power over you. Until a certain extent. You might make a drop mic as well. Then the silence. If not questioning the structure you’re in and remaining silent is an advantage for you, it means that the situation structurally gives you more power and agency, at least to my understanding. And by creating boundaries and enforcing them, you can create that structure. You can also create this structure being abusive.

Yup.....you have to share your vulnerabilities to have a meaningful relationship. People who are abusers use your interests, secrets, and fears to hurt and taunt you. You are rewarded with your favorite food, made afraid by using fears, and made compliant through bargaining. Many abusers also claim to have a bad memory, but actually remember everything including the laundry list....... that can be useful in controlling you.
 

Friday

Moderator
I’m so focused on the negatives that power creates and/or causes that I can’t see the value it has when not used to coerce, manipulate, control, or harm another
One thing that helps me a lot is to flank issues. Come at them from a different angle. So instead of trying, first off, to see the value when power is not being abused?

I might ask myself : What value does touching a child have when it’s not being used to abuse, coerce, manipulate, control, or harm?

I’d end up with a list of things practical/useful on one end, all the way up to necessary for life on the other end (failure to thrive &/or death by neglect)... and in the middle all KINDS of different benefits, both subtle and powerful, for both the child and person touching them, that couldn’t be further from abuse if one tried.

Doing things like this lets me flank some of my hard issues, by getting into the mindset of looking at complicated things, in complicated ways.

Because touching a child? CAN be used to coerce, manipulate, control, or harm. I can easily see & understand that. Just as I can understand picking them up when their legs are tired, or giving them a hug to comfort or in victory, or feeding a baby, or high fiving, or the shoulder bump & smile, or moving them out of harms way... and a thousand other things. So the impulse is just to shrug off other complicated things into an... I already KNOW that! But? It’s practice. It’s reengaging my conscious mind, and my heart, to look at something I knows well from a hundred different perspectives, before challenging myself to something I don’t know well... yet. Mental exercise. Like slapping water makes drawing a bowstring easier. Or lifting weights makes sports easier, or chopping wood makes sword work -or rowing- easier. Because the muscles I need to use for ABC? Have not only been strengthened by XYZ, but are used to being called into action. So they’re not only ready to be used, but don’t tire easily, either. Cross-training for zeh brain!
 
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