Growing up in a large extended family has both its benefits and drawbacks.
There always seems to be a heiarchy, one based on age, birth right and finally by attribute. This heiarchy creates secure check points for family members. We learn to respect our elders and support our young and hopefully enjoy being in the middle of either end as we move along this life.
Of course there are also those who disrespect the natural pecking order of the group by ignoring it. Rather than earning the respect and attention of family members and by doing so carve their own seat in that structure they attempt to seize that personal power by acting out.
A few recent events within my extended-far-reaching-heavy-limbed family have had me thinking about personal power and how many of us mix up aggressively presenting our ego in anger and with indignation with claiming our position of control within the group structure because we believe that by doing so we are seen as powerful and "in control". Usually this type of reactionary behavior is just a mark of youth but many of us maintain our passionate response to life and in the heat of the moment reach for behavior that is familar and easy. Rather than responding with honest and sincere vulnerability we present our egos first in the belief that by posturing we are empowering our selves, especially to the viewers.
I can personally say observing such reactions don't leave me with the impression that the person "throwing" the trantrum is in fact powerful. Instead it leaves me confused, angry, often disgusted, sometimes disappointed and in the end sad because that person who so desparately wants to be known for his/her strength often loses the respect and trust of those unfortunate enough to be part of their play.They fail to realize that power is an illusion created by those who bestowe it upon us. And more importantly it is an illusion that can disappear when attention and respect are withdrawn and the "love" of family is given because of blood, not because of respect for who we are.
Observing such behavior also makes me step back and check my self, which is a hard thing for most of us to do. We all want to be understood and we all want to be right and for most of us just but sometimes we aren't. We are imperfect. We are human.