Power, Vulnerability and Money...
By Susie and Otto Collins
Marketing Guru and consultant, Jay Abraham made a statement once that changed
the way we look at communication challenges, relationships and life. It's a concept
he called going "one question deeper."
Jay used this idea as a way to get to the core issues that face business owners.
We have adopted his "one question deeper" idea as a means to get to the core
of the jugular issues that we face in relationships.
One of those issues is money!
In our judgement, when there are issues about money in our relationships, they
aren't really issues about money at all. They are issues that surround power and
There is a woman we know who recently bought a van and two days after, the
transmission blew up and had to be repaired. To make a really long story short
there was a lot of name calling and accusations flying back and forth between
her and the car dealer. As she tells the story the problems were because in
addition to the transmission blowing up on the van, her payments were going to
be much higher than she originally thought them to be. She ended up getting so
upset that she forced the car dealer to take the van back.
Now, on the surface it appeared to be a problem around a money issue. We heard
another version of this story which took it "one question deeper."
We found out that the "real" reason her payments were going to be
higher was that she wanted the van to be in her name only instead of being on
the title and loan with her husband. This is a woman who has made no secrets
that she and her husband have been having problems.
The way we see it, this whole issue was not really about her monthly car
payment. It was about her needing to feel more powerful in a shaky relationship.
A major traumatic experience was created for several people all because of her
desire to have the van in her name only. This way she could feel more powerful.
In the type of relationship that we prescribe, a Spiritual Partnership both
partners in the relationship are powerful. They can also be vulnerable. In a
Spiritual Partnership the balance between power and vulnerability often changes,
shifts and flows back and forth consciously. In Otto's previous marriage, the
balance between power and vulnerability often around money issues changed and
shifted back and forth. But, it wasn't conscious.
What we do in our relationship when any issue comes up is to take our discussion
"one question deeper."
We suggest that when issues come up around money (or anything else for that
matter), you begin to look beneath the perceived problem. When you look
underneath the surface, we're pretty sure you'll find unresolved issues
surrounding power and vulnerability.
Often just talking openly and honestly about your fears and why you feel
vulnerable creates a framework for understanding. You find that the original
issue was just something to get your attention and force you to tackle the hard