While someone is upset or hurt they may "listen" to us to gather evidence for a rebuttal, to assert or validate a preconceived idea, and so on. When in this "predatory listening" mode, the "listener's" needs overshadow relational values like understanding, connection, or mutuality. In response to this we can consider our purpose, affirm any positive intent or need in what they say, and ask direct, honest questions.
Let's look at the resources, awareness, and skills needed to ask for emotional attunement, celebration, relatedness, perspective, understanding, advice, and information. This includes expressing appreciation for what's supporting your needs, strengthening a sense of worthiness, and awareness of your reactivity and intention. Plus, making requests that are clear, specific, doable and creates a heart connection with others.
A structured and clear contemplative practice can start with calming the body, heart, and mind for 20 minutes. Next, it contains at least three key elements: body awareness, clarifying what you already know, and consistent sustained attention. Celebrate and note insights, or any expanded perspective that pops into your awareness. Set an intention to notice these things in daily life and to practice further.
To shift reactivity by moving yourself from the position of experiencer to observer, name what’s happening. This can help you access other skills for managing reactivity. Also, create a strong emotional anchor.
However indirectly expressed, any judgement or criticism is about the person's own thoughts, feelings, needs, and requests.This awareness can help you take people's comments less personally, and give you options: silent self-empathy, standing in your truth, contact and curiosity, and honest expression.
Based on your observations of "power with" interactions choose a specific, do-able to practice so that you're prepared the next time you're in a power under/power over dynamic. Keep the practice simple to do in a difficult moment. Then reflect: identify what you did (internally or externally) or said that (de)escalated the dynamic. This practice requires noticing what went well, self compassion, perseverance, and support.
When a relationship has both differentiation and bonding you can express differences and unmet needs, and responsibly do your own thing without it being a threat to the bond with another. You honor each others choices. There's trust rather than a sense of resentful obligation. Needs-based negotiation is easier. See if you tend to emphasize only differentiation or bonding in your relationships. Imagine how to support the opposite.