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Old 05-12-2016, 09:09 AM
1234567 1234567 is offline
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Default Empowerment

I think one of the huge benefits of poly is that through the loss of control, we all dig in to ourselves, develop coping skills, and end up personally empowered.

Can it go the other way?

Can we set up the value of "empowerment" and have it help us through the tough times?

Typical poly situation:

Albert is insecure about Beth meeting Carlos.

Albert asks for Beth to not sleep with Carlos.

BEth draws on empowerment: "I need that to be my choice,
Or I'm going to feel controlled. And it disempowers both me and Carlos. I see you need help, here, though. How can we empower you to best get through this? I'm willing to adjust timing if I can see it will make you stronger and more resilient, and if it doesn't take away from my relationship with Carlos, but not if it ultimately weakens any of the three of us. Do you need reassurance? To talk about worries? An ear to listen when you provide strategies? What can we do to make this a growth experience or a positive experience for you?"

How well do you think that would work?
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:12 AM
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Spin-off- is increasing personal empowerment the antidote to being jealous? Things like knowing you can cope, knowing you can and for and have your needs met in a relationship- and meet them outside of a relationship of not possible inside? Knowing because you are empowered, and value others' empowerment, you don't need to have the illusion of possession to be secure?
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Old 05-12-2016, 09:16 AM
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Second spin-off:

What would our relationships look like if we valued empowerment as a measure of health, rather than closeness?
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:06 PM
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Spork Spork is offline
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My own idea of empowerment requires each person to own their emotions, and do self work in the managing of them. They can ask for help, but must be prepared to ask themselves the tough questions and get to the root of their issues, so that they're not just throwing a pointless hissy fit in the general direction of their partner and demanding that partner make them stop feeling icky feels.

So. I have a feeling I don't like. Let us say for example, jealousy over a partner's other partner. Some say you communicate every issue immediately, I do not agree and I don't do that. I need time to process. To chew on my ideas and feelings, so that I have a clear understanding of my problem and sensible approaches to solving, and can ask for the right kind of help from a partner in my life. I might blog, or journal, or call my Mom if I need a sounding board to work through my stuff.

Once I've eliminated unrelated causes of icky feelings such as bodily self-neglect (food, sleep, stress) and hormones, etc., if I have found that I do have a reason for my icky feelings, and work out what it is, then I troubleshoot in my brain. This is my empowerment...the full system check I do on myself.

I might think:
"What instance caused the icky feeling? Remove variable #1 from equation, would icky feeling still present? Now put variable #1 back and remove variable #2. Result?" Like troubleshooting a machine by swapping out cables and components until you find the problem part.

Truly, I don't feel that "jealousy" itself is a legit thing. It's an easy label for either a complex combination, or a denial of what the real issue is. Underneath it could be personal insecurity or feelings of low self worth or inadequacy. A fear of change and desire for control. A scarcity of time or attention. An interpretation of an interaction. A sense of competition from the meta or hostility from them. So, any number of things might be lurking. If we just slap the label of "jealousy" on there and do no digging, we aren't being very empowered, in my opinion.

I do not feel that empowerment necessarily means, "I'll do whatever I want and your feelings about it will be disregarded/rejected if they infringe upon my freedom."
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Analyst 40ish M- boyfriend, poly w/ Fire, friends w/ Hefe.
Fire & Hefe F&M 40ish- Married couple in poly quad w/ Analyst & me.
Zen Sadist mid 50's, M - In a sadomasochistic Top/Bottom relationship w/ me. Friendly-acquainted w/ the others.

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Old Wolf- Ex-hubs
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Q- 14 yr old son
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:31 PM
1234567 1234567 is offline
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That. 100% that. Thank you for writing that out
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Old 05-12-2016, 02:55 PM
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LOL no problem...I'm a fast typist and tend to go on and on a bit. Not good at brevity.

This has been a hot issue in my life. I've known people who had a great deal of trouble accepting personal accountability for stuff, whether it's a bad experience, a mistake, a situation not to their liking, troublesome emotions, etc. I think it's common in our culture to look externally to place fault for things. And too common where if someone is forced to acknowledge that they had a part in the making of their problems, then they just beat themselves up over it.

I find it far more productive to accept accountability or even demand it whenever I can, not to beat myself up about it, but to then empower myself to change what I'm doing going forward, so that my outcome might be more to my liking. To try and really learn from my mistakes, and forgive myself for making them. But there are people (one in particular) in my life who struggle with this, and I can't seem to get it through to them...and I can only feel sorry for them, because they let life beat them up and toss them around and refuse to take the wheel.

Ultimately in relationships, there has to be a negotiation. Sometimes people do reach a point where Partner A feels a very strong need to do something, and Partner B is equally strong on not being able to live with it, and it's at that extreme point where the relationship might have to end. Those people just have to decide what is worth what to them...where the stronger need exists, and compromise or walk away from the bargaining table.
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Spork 37 F
Analyst 40ish M- boyfriend, poly w/ Fire, friends w/ Hefe.
Fire & Hefe F&M 40ish- Married couple in poly quad w/ Analyst & me.
Zen Sadist mid 50's, M - In a sadomasochistic Top/Bottom relationship w/ me. Friendly-acquainted w/ the others.

Vanilla/blood family:
Old Wolf- Ex-hubs
Ninja- 17 yr old son
Q- 14 yr old son
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  #7  
Old 05-14-2016, 01:38 PM
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Nice elaboration, Spork. Triggered some of my maxims as well.

Recurringly -- not THIS thread, btw -- I get the impression that most errant polyfolk expect that -- once the Poly Enlightenment flashes & all their possibilities of stupidity are forever washed away -- everything OUGHT to be "hearts & chocolate," & that rough spots are aberrant, indicating some form of failure (& perhaps that there is evil afoot).

Well... nonsense (to be polite ).

Some days suck. Most days don't suck -- but that doesn't mean they're noticeably incredible, either.

A relationship is NOT a string of rare gems, but a complex tapestry with a few shiny points here & there to make it interesting... not to mention some ugly stains, burned spots, & a bit of horseshit.

I like how you describe Beth's process. But they ALL need to be able to "be the Adult" in that manner, in order to help ford each other's blindspots & weaknesses. (One major problem for so many people is fear of making "I" statements because they believe "it's bad to be egocentric" & similar nonsense.)

The point is NOT to choose the nice safe bland boring EASY road with few/no rough patches, because it's off in the wildness that magic happens. Instead, you learn to lend each other a hand -- which is sometimes rejected, & that sucks because they're saying "no I'd rather fall" or "no I'd rather stay here & die" & you get to decide whether to die with them or move ahead.

As you gain experience & skill, fewer & fewer rough patches even get your attention. Soon enough, you're willing to consider challenges that not-so-long-ago woulda had you cowering in a dark corner.
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Old 05-14-2016, 09:55 PM
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I'll probably get lynched for this, but I believe my (our) emotions can be caused by external circumstances and by the acts of others.
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Old 05-14-2016, 10:08 PM
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I'd have to differentiate between
  • my emotions
  • the roots in my past that result in my emotions
  • my emotion-caused reactions
  • the responsibility I have to deal with my reactions
& there's probably other points.

Though it's become a cliche, I'm not comfy with "nobody has the power to 'make' me anything." Plenty of people have demonstrated the ability to push my metaphoric buttons & get a negative reaction from me.

...& then I have a responsibility to figure out WTF so that I can defuse that trap.
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  #10  
Old 05-14-2016, 10:50 PM
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Some things people do genuinely cause us harm and our negative emotions are hopefully protective against us allowing that to happen. It's the working out for you what's genuinely harmful and what is stuff you'd actually like to be ok with.
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