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Power motivation

My husband Vishal Sanghvi is an MBA with one of the leading petroleum company of India. He has achieved a lot for his age of 31 years. HE is praised everywhere for his dedication and hard work. However, I stay with him and know him very closely. He is very ambitious in his work and that creates a problem for me. He is never satisfied with whatever he has. He is craving for a lot of power and one day he wants to be the CEO of a big company. Due to this, he resorts to any method of influencing people. I do not understand what is driving him when we already have enough for the two of us and for the family that we would have. Please advise regarding this situation.


Vishal is a person driven by the motivation of having power. He wants to have the ability and capacity to produce intended effects on the behavior or emotions of another person. His goals are to influence, control, cajole, persuade, lead, and charm others and to enhance his own reputation in the eyes of other people. He derives satisfaction from achieving these goals. He has an immense concern for reputation. He may have impulsive and aggressive action in some situations. He may also have active participation in competitive sports to express his need for power. He would join organizations and want to hold an important office in these organizations. He would want to dominate women. He would also display his power need by obtaining and collecting possessions such as fancy cars, elaborate stereo sets, numerous credit cards and the like. He would also associate with people who are not particularly popular with others and who are more easily controlled by him because they depend on him for his friendships. His career also provides him an opportunity to have an impact on other people. It would seem that he outwardly follows the rules of conventional morality but secretly uses craft and deceitful practices to maintain his power. He is prone to manipulate and exploit others in a deceptive and unscrupulous fashion. There is little warmth in his personal relationships and he is only weakly guided by conventional morality in his dealings with others, is reality oriented and interested in practical results. He has little interest in ideologies. He makes and breaks interpersonal relationships in an opportunistic way, denies cheating, uses lies to manipulate other people, is very persuasive when arguing about subjects in which he is emotionally involved, is perceived by others in his group as leaders and tends to be on the winning side most of the time.


What is the best action for Vishal?


For Vishal, the best route would be to conform to the society. He has to change his beliefs and behaviors so that they become more similar to those of other group members. You can probably help him in this by working over the issues of possible loss of status, disparagement of conformity and let him be a part of the social circle. It will help him give more weight to social modes rather than personal modes. There are two justice rules that he must follow for this. The first is called the contributions rule. Here the concept is of equity. He must make equal contributions to the relationships he has. He has to understand that when individuals find themselves in an unfair relationship, they will experience distress. The second rule is that of social responsibility. He has to be encouraged to respond to the legitimate needs of others so as not to put them in hardship and suffering. These rules will help him to encourage effective relationships and have closer, friendly relationships. When the primary concern is maintaining harmony and avoiding conflicts in the relationships, these rules will help. Success in curbing his behavior can be had only if Vishal recognizes the harmfulness of his behavior. He should never be threatened or given attention for the manipulative behavior; this only adds to the excitement of the behavior. Very little can be achieved by pointing out the illogicity of his thoughts or by arguing with him. He cannot be won over by making things easy for him or even harder for him. He has been looking at the world in this manner for years; so, the root cause of his thinking has to be addressed. What can be pointed out is the attitude and the way that he justifies everything for this attitude. Punishing him is equally ineffective, as he will only feel more helpless. Perhaps if he is explained that he can be in a favorable position, if the demands on him are lessened and the errors in his lifestyle are no longer brought to the surface, he may improve. If he realizes that he has already got what he wanted and that manipulation serves no purpose, it might serve as a starting point for him to let go of his selfish needs and settle down comfortably. If his need for personal superiority is channelized into serving the society and being able to work towards a societal superiority, it might curb the self-serving behavior. Another way is to stop letting the manipulation win. For this one needs to be able to better equipped to tackle such behavior. Again, it is the behavior, which needs to be discouraged, and not the person. Nevertheless, it is to be remembered that people like Vishal are interested only in themselves and their point of view. He has his own way of looking and listening and frequently pays no attention to things that do not agree with his own interpretation of life. So, try your best and you might be able to liberate him from his manipulative behavior.

Dr. Darshan Shah

Dr. Darshan Shah, a renowned psychiatrist and psychotherapist, is committed to make a difference in the area of mental health and help individuals cope with feelings and symptoms; change behavior patterns that may contribute to one’s illness and henceforth contribute to their newly improved pathway of life.

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