217: Are you choosing arguments instead of power?

217: Are you choosing arguments instead of power?

Welcome to this episode of our short daily podcast - A Slice of Therapy.

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With Alun Parry https://liverpoolpsychotherapy.co.uk

Automatically Generated Transcript

00:01
you’re listening to a slice of therapy
00:03
with me alun parry
00:06
[Music]
00:11
now i don’t know whether you saw on the
00:12
news today all those
00:15
billionaires marching in order to get
00:18
the things that they want
00:22
you see there were loads of billionaires
00:24
and they were out protesting in the
00:26
streets
00:28
and i wonder if you’re sorry well i can
00:31
guarantee that you didn’t
00:32
because there wasn’t such a
00:34
demonstration by billionaires and in
00:36
fact
00:36
when you think about it there never is
00:40
they’re never marching in the streets
00:42
protesting
00:44
to try and convince others to do what
00:47
they want
00:49
and the reason for that is because
00:52
they’re billionaires
00:54
they have loads and loads of power
00:58
and loads of political power as well
01:01
and so when a billionaire needs
01:03
something to be a certain way they don’t
01:05
have to go and protest
01:08
they just use their power and they make
01:11
it happen
01:15
those of us who don’t have that level of
01:17
power
01:19
we have to join together and get out
01:21
onto the street and try and
01:23
force some change but those who already
01:25
have power
01:28
they don’t need to go marching on the
01:30
street because if they want something
01:32
done
01:33
they just do it
01:36
and in fact you’ll see this this
01:40
sense that you know if you go into a
01:44
supermarket on any given day you’ll see
01:48
a five-year-old in there having a
01:49
tantrum because
01:52
their parent won’t let them have a
01:54
biscuit
01:56
now i can really empathize with that
01:57
five-year-old because biscuits are very
01:59
nice aren’t they
02:00
but the reason why that that
02:02
five-year-old is having a tantrum is
02:04
because
02:05
they can’t simply go and have the
02:07
biscuit
02:08
they have to go through the parents they
02:11
don’t have the power
02:13
so they have to seek permission
02:17
and because they have to seek permission
02:20
then one of the things that they have to
02:21
do is to try and convince the powerful
02:23
one
02:25
to let them have what it is that they
02:27
want
02:29
and in fact i think this is one of the
02:30
greatest
02:32
benefits isn’t it of being an adult is
02:35
that once we’re grown up we can have a
02:36
biscuit whenever we want
02:38
we don’t have to ask anybody anymore we
02:41
can just have the biscuit
02:43
and so it’s been a very long time since
02:45
i’ve had a tantrum
02:48
in order to have a biscuit because when
02:51
i want a biscuit
02:52
i just walk into my kitchen open my
02:55
cupboard door
02:56
get the biscuits in open it up and i
02:59
have a biscuit
03:01
and so no arguments are necessary
03:05
why because i already
03:09
have the power
03:12
now nonetheless even as adults we can
03:15
still fall into
03:17
tantrums and protest we can still get
03:20
locked into
03:22
full-scale arguments with people but
03:25
when we do
03:27
it’s for a simple reason it’s because
03:30
we lack the power to simply
03:34
meet our needs we lack the power to
03:37
simply go and get the biscuit
03:40
and so what we hope is that the protest
03:43
will be enough
03:44
to convince the person who does have the
03:47
power
03:48
to allow our needs and this happens in
03:51
relationships
03:53
as well doesn’t it where we can get into
03:54
an argument and we can
03:56
stamp our feet and we can go into
03:59
protest type
04:00
behavior but what it’s really a a
04:02
reflection what it’s really telling us
04:04
is that in that moment we
04:08
don’t really have power
04:11
because if we did we would just
04:15
meet our needs directly
04:19
we wouldn’t try and convince through
04:21
that protest behavior
04:22
to try and convince somebody else to do
04:25
that
04:26
just like when we want a biscuit we go
04:29
and get the biscuit
04:30
when the billionaires want something
04:32
done they just do it because
04:34
that’s what power looks like whether
04:36
it’s whatever they want
04:38
or whether it’s me wanting my biscuit on
04:40
a
04:41
sunday night
04:45
now when it comes to this
04:49
this idea that protest behavior
04:52
is a reflection of not having power well
04:56
there are two things to say about that
04:58
because there are two
04:59
potential scenarios around it
05:02
the first one is that it’s true
05:05
that actually our power is limited that
05:08
we are
05:09
actually in a situation where somebody
05:11
else gets to
05:12
decide and then that protest behavior
05:16
well it’s kind of understandable isn’t
05:18
it i mean it might not be the best
05:19
strategy but it’s kind of understandable
05:22
because it’s actually true that we don’t
05:25
have
05:26
the power in that circumstance
05:30
but the second scenario is where we do
05:35
have the power but we act as if we don’t
05:38
maybe we’re being very compliant maybe
05:41
boy being
05:42
obedient maybe we’re editing ourselves
05:45
maybe we’re
05:46
telling ourselves that i can’t be that
05:48
person who simply makes that happen
05:52
and so instead we behave as if we don’t
05:55
have the power
05:57
now i remember a time in my previous
06:00
life before i was the therapist and i
06:01
was a musician
06:03
and i remember being invited to play
06:07
at a special event which was actually
06:10
being held
06:11
at the cathedral and
06:14
that too was a protest and it was
06:16
protesting against
06:18
austerity and various cuts and these
06:21
kind of things and i was invited as a
06:23
musician
06:24
which is uh what i did before therapy in
06:27
order to come
06:28
and play and sing and for whatever
06:30
reason the
06:32
the cathedral allowed the event to be
06:35
held there
06:38
but i was told that i wasn’t allowed to
06:41
sing
06:42
a particular song that i’d written now
06:46
i could i’ve got into a full-blown
06:49
argument i could have had a tantrum over
06:51
it
06:52
if it was really important but if i had
06:55
have done that would assumed
06:58
that the person who was telling me this
07:00
who was one of the big high up people
07:02
in the cathedral actually turned out
07:06
went on to be the archbishop of
07:07
canterbury but i wasn’t to know that
07:10
so i could have actually got into a
07:12
full-blown argument if this was really
07:14
important to me to sing this song
07:17
but that would have assumed that he had
07:19
the power now you might be thinking well
07:21
come on
07:22
he did have the power because he was the
07:24
big high up at the cathedral
07:28
but an actual fact it may look like he
07:31
had the power
07:33
and i would have had to have had the
07:35
arguments if it was important to me
07:37
if i believed that i needed his
07:40
permission
07:42
but even though it looked like he had
07:44
the power because he’s the big high up
07:46
at the cathedral
07:48
i as the singer had the microphone
07:52
and so i just decided
07:56
to sing whatever it felt important
08:00
in that moment for me to sing
08:03
and it turned out to be the song that i
08:06
apparently wasn’t allowed to sing
08:10
now i could have been obedience and
08:12
compliance and if i had
08:14
i might have had to stamp my feet and
08:17
sulk
08:18
and throw a tantrum but all of that
08:20
would have come from
08:22
a false belief that i
08:25
didn’t have any power in that situation
08:27
at all
08:29
but when we actually reflect on it and
08:32
say well
08:33
is that actually true
08:36
am i really just being obedient here and
08:40
compliant
08:42
is it really true that i don’t have the
08:44
power
08:46
or am i just believing that that’s
08:48
something
08:49
that i shouldn’t do which is a whole
08:51
different
08:52
kettle of fish of course it changes
08:57
because once i realize that it just
08:59
looks like it doesn’t
09:01
don’t have power but it’s not actually
09:02
true once i
09:04
realize that i just have a belief that i
09:07
don’t have power
09:09
then there’s no need for the tantrum
09:11
there’s no need for the protest
09:14
there’s no need for me digging in my
09:16
heels
09:17
and getting stroppy i just do what the
09:20
billionaires do
09:21
i simply make it happen i simply
09:25
meet my own needs once i realize
09:28
that i have the power to do that
09:33
you see once we refuse to give ourselves
09:36
the right
09:37
to simply make things happen
09:40
that’s what invites us into protest
09:42
behavior
09:45
that’s what invites us into a situation
09:48
where we’re at loggerheads with somebody
09:50
else because
09:53
we think we need their permission to get
09:56
our needs met
09:58
and when we look at the situation it
10:00
turns out that we don’t
10:02
we’re just being timid we’re just
10:05
holding ourselves back we’re just making
10:08
sure we’re not that person
10:10
who stands forward and gets what we need
10:14
we think that it needs somebody else’s
10:16
okay
10:17
in order to get what we need
10:21
and so to recap them we we saw the
10:24
billionaires don’t go on protests
10:26
and the reason why they don’t is because
10:28
they already have power
10:30
and so when they want something done
10:31
they just do it
10:33
we saw our five-year-olds who won a
10:34
biscuit and they’re not allowed to have
10:36
a biscuit
10:37
are in the opposite situation and so
10:40
they have tantrums the kind of tantrums
10:43
that they wouldn’t have if like the
10:45
billionaires they were simply allowed to
10:47
have their biscuit
10:48
and in fact i looked at my own life
10:52
and how as an adult i just get a biscuit
10:54
whenever i want
10:55
and so no protest behavior is needed and
10:58
yet
10:59
even as adults we can still fall in to
11:02
protest behavior we can still
11:04
get tempted into these full-blown
11:07
arguments
11:08
when we believe that we don’t have the
11:11
power
11:12
and we saw this idea that these
11:14
full-blown arguments
11:15
are actually a sign of our belief
11:19
that we don’t have power and yet
11:22
only some of the time is that true
11:26
and other times we kind of do
11:30
but we feel too timid to go out and
11:33
claim it
11:34
we feel that we can’t really allow
11:37
ourselves just to step forward
11:39
and meet our own needs
11:43
and we saw that example from me
11:46
having the microphone and being told
11:50
that there was a certain song that i
11:51
couldn’t sing
11:54
and i could have been tempted into the
11:56
idea that i didn’t have the power
11:59
but in actual fact i did because i had
12:02
the microphone and once i started
12:04
singing
12:05
really what could anybody do
12:08
and so
12:12
it’s helpful i think to check out first
12:15
of all to notice that when we’re in that
12:17
full-blown argument mode when we’re
12:19
invited into protest behavior that is
12:21
actually a reflection
12:24
of a sign that we don’t simply have the
12:26
power to get our needs met
12:29
and once we know that it allows us to
12:31
have a look
12:33
and ask the question well is that
12:34
actually true
12:36
am i really in a situation where right
12:39
now at this moment i can’t get my needs
12:41
met
12:42
or do i just feel as though oh well that
12:46
would be terrible if i did
12:48
is it just a case that i’m being timid
12:51
and editing myself
12:52
is the power right in front of me
12:56
if only i gave myself permission to use
12:59
it
13:01
and so if you find this helpful please
13:02
share it and of course you can work with
13:05
me direct
13:06
i’m alun parry and you can find out more
13:08
at liverpool psychotherapy dot co dot uk
13:11
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13:14
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13:15
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13:19
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13:21
be back again tomorrow
13:22
with another one

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