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Healthy and Happy Love Relationships. Originally written in 1986, and a free online guide to time-tested attitudes & tips since 2001.

Power Games Create Unhealthy Relationships

One of the most pronounced features in unhealthy relationships is the use of "POWER GAMES." The word power can be used in many ways. Power games are manipulative behaviors that keep two people on an unequal basis. The power games can be subtle or in-your-face. Whichever way they appear, basically one person in the relationship believes he or she must maintain control in the relationship. The person who believes this also feels the way to be in control is to have power over that relationship. People who buy into using power games to control a relationship often attempt some of the following behaviors:

• Giving Advice but not accepting it.

• Having difficulty asking for love and support.

• Giving orders.

• Trying to "get even" by putting others down.

• Being judgmental or punishing.

• Withholding something others want or need.

• Making and then breaking promises.

• Smothering or over-nurturing others.

• Patronizing or condescending treatment.

• Making decisions for the partner.

• Putting someone in a "no-win" situation.

• Using bullying or bribing behaviors.

• Attacking someone when they are most vulnerable.

• Trying to change someone, but being unwilling to change oneself.

• Showing "I don’t need you!" attitude.

• Grudge-holding or showing self-righteous anger.

• Verbal or physical abuse.

• Being unable to admit mistakes.

• Being aggressive and calling it assertiveness.

• Giving indirect, evasive answers to questions.

• Consistently excusing or defending any of the above behaviors.

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Love is always bestowed as a gift - freely, willingly and without expectation. We don't love to be loved; we love to love. — Leo Buscaglia