Saturday, January 26, 2008

The Authoritarian Power Dynamic

Abusive relationships require and "thrive" off of an imbalance of power within a relationship or within a group. The subordinates serve the needs of the person who holds authority over them. Though not all authoritarian systems and relationships are abusive and harmful, it is important to learn to recognize authoritarian systems and those who have authoritarian personality and management styles. Spiritual abusers always prefer authoritarianism and have an authoritarian traits.

Lalich and Tobias offer this list of authoritarian traits in
Captive Hearts, Captive Minds:

  • tendency to hierarchy

  • the drive for power (and wealth)

  • hostility, hatred, prejudice

  • superficial judgments of people and events

  • a one-sided scale of values favoring the one in power

  • interpreting kindness as weakness

  • the tendency to use people and see others as inferior

  • a sadistic-masochistic tendency

  • incapability of being ultimately satisfied

  • paranoia

List adapted from Ivan Volgyes in The Cult of Power:
Dictators in the Twentieth Century;
Editor Joseph Held; East European Monographs, 1983. pgs 23-39