How to Become a Powerful Person: Part One – 4 Ways to Spot Powerlessness.

Danny Silk

In order to be able to make and keep the commitments involved with enduring, intimate relationships, you need to be a certain kind of person. You need to be a powerful person.

Powerful people take responsibility for their lives and choices. Powerful people choose who they want to be with, what they are going to pursue in life, and how they are going to go after it.

Unfortunately, most of us did not grow up to be powerful people. If you were blessed to have parents who taught you to be responsible for your choices, then you should go home and thank them. It’s a rare gift!

Most people don’t know that they can be powerful, or even that they ought to be. They are trained from a young age that someone else is responsible for their decisions, and all they have to do is comply and obey. This sets them up to struggle in multiple aspects of life, particularly with building healthy relationships.

For those of us committed to becoming powerful people, our first step must be identifying where we haven’t been powerful. So, here are four easy ways to spot powerlessness…

1) Powerless Language reveals a powerless mindset.

Frequent use of the phrases “I can’t” and “I have to” is a hallmark of a powerless person. “I can’t do that. It’s too hard. I have to clean the kitchen. I have to go to school. I have to spend time with so-and-so.” All of these statements say, “I feel powerless to take responsibility for my actions, so I will say that someone or something else is making me do it.”

Powerless people also throw in “I’ll try” to absolve them if they do not come through on a commitment or promise. Just imagine standing in front of the preacher on your wedding day and saying, “I’ll try.” This language is rooted in powerlessness, in the belief that you don’t have power to manage yourself.

2) Powerless people approach relationships as consumers.

They are always looking for other people who have resources of love, happiness, joy, and comfort to offer in a relationship to share with them, because they don’t have any. They subconsciously think, You look so happy. I need some of that happy in my life. We should get together so I can consume all of your happy. A powerless person will consume whatever another person will offer up until the life of a once-happy, radiant flower has been mown to dirt. If you don’t believe me, talk to anyone who has been in relationship with a powerless person. They will suck you dry—if you let them.

I have a friend who is married to a man with a debilitating victim mentality. She could never do enough and constantly struggled to live up to his impossible expectations. They recently separated because he refuses to take responsibility for his unhappiness. Since she has been on her own, she’s like a flower getting sunshine for the first time. She’s sleeping, losing weight, wearing makeup, and doing her hair. Her happiness is no longer being consumed by a powerless person.

3) Powerless people often blame the messes they make on other people.

The reason their life, marriage, child, finances, job, or whatever is the way it is has nothing to do with their choices. Someone else—their parents, their spouse, their teachers, society—created the life they’re living. They don’t have the power to create their own lives.

4) The defining, driving force of a powerless person is anxiety.

Life is scary when you are powerless, when you live in a world where you believe most things and most people are more powerful than you. It’s scary to feel your life is out of your control.

Powerless people have a deep need to suppress and assuage their abiding fear—fear of loss, pain, death, abandonment, and more. But because they do not have the power deal with their fear, their only hope is to persuade other people to do it for them. They need other people to share their power with them, because they don’t have any of their own. They need other people to protect them, make them happy, and take responsibility for their lives. And the only way they believe they can get people to do this is to try to control and manipulate them. Control can look aggressive like a T-Rex or passive like a lamb, but in either case, the root problem is the same—fear.

Powerless people create an anxiety-driven environment wherever they go. At best, these environments have a thin veneer of safety and calm, which cover underlying currents of control and intimidation. Those who enter their atmosphere quickly learn to shape up and go with the program—until it dawns on them that they will never be safe to “just be themselves” around that person or group.

If any of these feel like a mirror to your own life, welcome to the human race!

Now that we’ve identified the powerlessness in our lives, let’s replace these patterns and mentalities with powerful ones. On the next blog, we’ll discuss step two!

PS) If you enjoyed this blog, I think you would love Communication Hacks, a resource I’ve made available for free. In it, we discuss the communication habits of powerful people. If interested, download here

PPS) As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts below!

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  1. Very good! We’ve all probably been on both sides at some point. It does help to see powerlessness described the way you have. It helps to be able to recognize it in others as well as ourselves. Thank you. Looking forward to #2.

  2. Great observations. "Powerful solutions" is where the hope is and that is thru our covenant rights in Jesus. As players in the royal priesthood under the Great High Priest, we are to be loving, power filled people. That works in any situation and relationship.

  3. Wow, this is so good! Thank you for helping people and leading them on the right path to correct love, just how God says in his word. Blessings, to you and yours!!!

  4. I keep reading your books, been to your conferences, am enrolled in your online classes but I keep falling back into being a powerless person. I dont know what I’m doing wrong!

  5. So good! Just finished reading KYLO and Loving Your Kids On Purpose. Thanks for sharing your wisdom and gift with the world!

  6. I love this so much, thank you for pouring out all that God has poured into you! This is a game changer because it wakes me up to the fact that life isn’t a game! I want to be a powerful person and not be ashamed of nor disagree with God in regards to who He created me to be. I know that powerful people are able to receive God’s love, worship out of that and give it away simply because they are fully convinced of His love..wit no room for doubt. How beautiful is that? Too beautiful for words to describe! Loving on purpose is not for cowards, it’s for those brave enough to expose their weakmesses as the firewood that can be set up in a pile that God stacks up so He can light it up with the Holy fire of His strength that is made perfect in that moment that we submit them to Him. I love this visual He gave me of a bonfire because at a distance it can be seen, it can be felt and it is beautifully captivating to say the least. That is what love is – all consuming fire. I am praying for the ministry God has given you and am so thankful for it, what a rich blessing it is and I am blessed to have a friend introduce me to your book Keep your love on, it has opened my eyes in many ways!! God bless you Big today and for the rest of your life! Please let me know how I can help pray for you specifically or help from my home in Texas, linking arms with you guys would be a joy!

    Boom #peace #bgutzy

    Betty Gutierrez

  7. While this information is totally functional and full of great ideas, my concern is where is the balance? I have seen setting boundaries and this whole talk about powerful people turn family members into islands, where they separate themselves from their loved ones in order to protect themselves or make themselves "powerful people". Although this is not what I hear you saying, this is what I have seen happen in my own family who has taken on this material. Parents, siblings, cousins, grandparents, aunts and uncles, are neglected, it’s so sad to see it carried to the extreme. Especially when some of those people are unbelievers and this is the message they are sending, they don’t matter to them anymore, their better then that and then it becomes a blind spot.

  8. I’m happy/sad to feel like I totally identify with these!!! Time to make a change, and start walking as a powerful person. Can’t wait for the next blog!

  9. When a child is raised in this manipulative and controlling relationship it feels like rebellion to approach change. I avoided the phrase "try to" bring about change or get free. Do you plan to talk about that in the future?

  10. I’m curious as to how this plays out in personality traits. I’m not sure if your familiar with the Color code, but there is 2 dominant personalities and 2 non dominant personalities and then of course comes the beauty of the mixture within a relationship between the two. I guess my question would be how does "powerful" play out for a non dominant personality? Is it just a matter of not taking offense or a matter of owning up to your own decisions.

  11. Thanks for this Danny, it is the perfect encouragement for a difficult situation we are facing in our church. Two of our leaders have left their spouses and are having an affair, while justifying they are living in true divine love (following their heart with a love that has no limitations). They cite all sorts of external issues to justify, and refuse to take responsibility for the mess while saying everything they are doing is right and good. We have had many conversations with our group, batting around thoughts and concepts from Culture of Honor and KYLO, and saying at times "I think Danny would say this…" Anyway, although we have never met, your life and teaching are revolutionary and life giving and have been a mentor to us for several years. We are so very thankful for how you labor and for being a good father that provides well for his ‘kids’ (lol, we are just about the same age). Anyway, blessing and favor to you! Darla Searle

  12. What do you do if you’ve seen the light on this and are attempting to change your language and life from powerless to powerful but your spouse is not? Despite watching the KYLO DVD’s, the Eeyore anointing on my spouse is, as you say, life-draining for me and our kids. Also, I’ve found it’s very difficult to want to be intimate with a person who exudes powerlessness but thinks he’s powerful. Any attempt to discuss it (in "I" terms) is viewed as criticism, so I vacillate between being really angry and trying to see and love him as I know Father does. I just try to keep myself filled up with H.S. so I have love to give, and then sometimes I really get in the flesh and blow it badly.

  13. Danny thank you!!
    Your teaching has had more impact on my life than any other, with the exception of Jesus :).
    I share it wherever I have opportunity and love to see people tap into the simplicity of the truth you bring so clearly and joyfully. Love it!! Have a great day! Jacqui

  14. What if your both? I have a tendency to be myself when I’m not with my husband I find if I am it creates conflict so I have to be myself around my friends only. I feel like I’m losing out somehow b

  15. Thank you for putting all these issues in such a clear way to identify, thank you for your time and passion to teach about these useful and so important topics ! Greetings from Cuenca-Ecuador

  16. Excellent insights into the human psyche – I can relate very much either being treated or treating in accordance to the above 🙂

  17. Like your friend you mentioned I find my husband has sucked up all my strength and happiness, do to depression and constantly being the victim. Is there any way besides separation for us to overcome this power vacuum?

  18. Just reading through the comments encourages me! I’m constantly reminded that relationships are some of the greatest challenges and the sweetest victories. Personal responsibility is at the heart of successful relationships and lives. Regardless of country, culture or language the essence of respect and responsibility pave the way for increasing experiences of connection and decreasing the culprit of relational anxiety. Thanks for your feedback!

  19. Isn’t there a discussion group with this class? Or is this comment section it? I have a question for Danny. What do you do when your partner/boyfriend is powerful but uses his power to control a woman and make her submit to his way or the highway? He’s a Christian, but with lots of layers of pain, that I believe are the root of his issues. He doesn’t communicate. He blows up over nothing, hangs up, refuses to talk, then breaks up with me, saying "we fight too much and I’m tired of it," and then calls the next day like nothing happened. It’s a rollercoaster ride. He never says he is sorry or admits wrong. When I ask questions about why he did what he did or use your tools of communicating my needs, he doesn’t respond. Maybe this is a question for the boundaries class later but I would love your insight. How do you love a person like that? How do you enforce boundaries. He has many other wonderful qualities. This is the only problem but it’s a huge problem. He can’t be powerless because he is egotistical and does have a lot of power. How do you categorize this behavior and how do you love him as Jesus would, out of these patterns? I’d love your help!

  20. Dear Danny, just listened to your discussion on how to forgive. Thank you for the direction and tips and biblical references, it’s never been explained this way before. This is going to help me move forward in so many relationships with a fresh covenant focused direction.

  21. Thanks for giving us permission to become powerful. Can’t wait for the "how" to keep our love on, as we become powerful and see that other’s have not yet begun this journey into powerfulness.

  22. Mimi,
    I would say that your boyfriend isn’t powerful. Anyone who is trying to control other people through intimidation and punishment is the opposite of powerful, he is scared. Acquiescing to his manipulation simply makes the fear bigger and influences more people. Tell him about how you are experiencing him and what it is that you need to feel when in a conversation with him. Also, if you haven’t read Keep Your Love On yet, that would be an excellent contribution to your relational health.

  23. How might these principles apply in a marriage where pornography images are involved, despite confrontation off and on (for ten years), believing the issue was addressed?

  24. I’ve been so powerless for so long and blamed those that are closest to me, rejecting them and manipulating them especially my wife of 20 years, she’s my hero! She got powerful and drew lines with love and strength and never gave up on the power that she sees within me. God’s word has come so alive and is the TNT in my life. I agree wholeheartedly with what I’ve read so far and I am on a journey to be whole mentally so that I can intentionally walk in the fruit of the spirit. Anything outside of that is foolish.
    Because of deception and fear I gave up my power but now the lights are coming back on and I see that I do have the ability and the power to make good decisions and that I do not have to fear the consequences because it’s been an illusion, a smoke screen that the enemy has used in my life for so long. I love the man I’m becoming and I am committed to walking in power and the greatest power I can walk in is love, pure unadulterated, ridiculously brutal, uncompromising, unconditional Love.

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