It’s easy to say that a course was transformative, but it does feel as if the 'Power of Partnership' hit the right spot at the right time in my life.
I’ve been facing two particular challenges which the course helped me to address. The first is my work situation, where we’re undergoing what seems like an interminable restructure forced by a loss of funding. This has brought some very contentious issues to the surface which has left my colleagues and I feeling deeply frustrated, disempowered and depressed.
When asked, as part of the course, to give a short presentation on one of the themes in Riane’s book, the chapter on 'Your work and community relationships' stood out. It prompted me to look at the workplace dynamics through the domination-partnership lens. This gave me some insights which have changed my behaviour at work; I am no longer willing to accept an organisational culture which is led by a (female) dominator boss.
As organisational cultures are created by everyone involved, I have had to consider my own contribution and realise that I have been complicit. Although I have challenged the culture in the past, I’ve backed down and accepted the status quo too easily. This has similarities to my childhood family relationships.
Now that I am conscious of this and can bring more self-awareness into my workplace relationships, I feel that it might be possible to challenge the dominator regime in a constructive manner.
My other challenge this past 3 months was to prepare a presentation on climate change for a local discussion group. This required some intensive research to strengthen my knowledge of the subject, as I knew I had to be prepared for possible attacks from climate change deniers.
Sure enough, there was one vocal denier in the group, evidently steeped in New World Order conspiracy theories. Although his arguments were weak and easily countered, I experienced a strong physical reaction to the engagement as I struggled to contain my anger, causing my hands to shake quite violently.
A couple of days later I read a section in Riane’s book on ‘Dominator psychology and the environment’. She says: “one way people with dominator mindsets deal with the world is through denial”.
This switched on a light bulb for me. Climate change deniers have dominator mindsets, and encounters with them trigger those hypersensitive childhood patterns which dominator family structures force upon us.
Whether it’s controlling bosses, climate change deniers, authoritarian politicians, murdering terrorists or the destructive impact of our civilisation on the rest of nature, the root cause of my anger is the same: domination structures arising from dominator mindsets, perpetuated ad infinitum by the cycle of learnt childhood behaviour and social and economic indoctrination within a global dominator culture.
It feels as if healing is emerging from partnership in thinking and practice, both in my own damaged psyche and in my relationship with the world. The new challenge from this learning is to live, breathe and act from the partnership way in all aspects of my life.