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Techniques Willpower > Domination

One-sided domination | Battle of wills | Dominant character | See also


Control of others sometimes is easy. Polite requests or firm commands can be all that is needed. At other times the other person pushes back. Often, in such situations, the person with the greatest willpower will win through.

One-sided domination

Domination is often a one-sided affair, where one person 'imposes' their will on another. The basic principle is to always expect obedience and to speak and act in a way that shows this.

Dominant body language is often used. This may be deliberate and may be used automatically, as created by the dominant mindset. This may include:

  • Expanding the body to look bigger.
  • Invading the other person's space.
  • Interrupting them, demanding priority attention.
  • Taking what is theirs without asking.
  • Staring and holding eye contact longer than usual.
  • Aggressive, sudden movements that threaten.
  • Criticizing them, acting as judge and jury.
  • Acting casually or ignoring them, as if they do not matter.

Domination may use assertiveness, but often adds threat or more overt aggression.

Battle of wills

Sometimes acting in a dominant way is sufficient to subdue the other person and bend them to your will. At other times, they may fight back and a  'battle of wills' ensues.

It can be a surprise when a subordinate person revolts, whether it is a teenager or a direct employee. Less surprising is where peers or a romantic couple fall out.

The result in any case may well be a stand-up argument, where the stronger will wins. Each person may now be using dominant words and actions and the interaction will easily escalate as each tries to out-do the other. A typical interaction is a staring match, where they lock gazes with the knowledge that the person who looks away first loses this little game.

In this sense, anger can be a support for willpower as it fuels determination and makes the person feel more powerful. Anger also results in a loss of conscious control and can easily spill over into physical fighting, especially between two males.

The dominant character

Some people are naturally more dominant than others and this character type is found in the DISC personality model. Other factors that may lead to a dominant character include:

Dominant people view themselves as successful only when they are in charge and others are bending to their will. They like the act of domination and the matching act of submission by others. They enjoy the battle of wills as it helps them feel their sense of control and power.

See also

Assertiveness, Power


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